REVIEW: ‘Logan Lucky’ Is A Fun Southern Spin On The Ensemble Heist Genre

Steven Soderbergh is back with another heist film, this time without the swag and the suave characters.

“Logan Lucky” centers on the Logan family, including Jimmy (Channing Tatum), Clyde (Adam Driver) and Mellie (Riley Keough). The family is well known for being unlucky, and Jimmy is a great example. Once a promising college quarterback, the film introduces Jimmy as a man with a bad leg and out of work.

Because of the stress from being laid off and a situation regarding the custody of his daughter, he turns to his brother Clyde, an Iraq War veteran who lost his arm, with an idea for a heist. Jimmy’s plan is to steal from the Charlotte Motor Speedway, with help from Mellie and an expert safecracker named Joe Bang (Daniel Craig).

Soderbergh’s latest flick is wonderfully entertaining, balancing humor that’s continually on point as well as a clever robbery operation that’s interesting to watch unfold. The latter is especially fascinating to see, considering the characters don’t appear to be experts at pulling off heists, considering many of them are just average, rural residents.

It creates a sense of not really knowing how things will go, or what these characters will do. There’s a fun level of unpredictability at work here, making for a very amusing experience.

The movie does hit a few snags here and there, though, mainly when it comes to the story. Throughout “Logan Lucky,” the stakes always feel rather low. The Logans are said to be ‘unlucky’ but they appear to be getting by, despite Jimmy getting laid off.

That’s not to say that any of them are wealthy, but at the same time, the characters don’t seem to have much inspiration to go to such monumental lengths and pull off a complex heist. As a result, it does feel a bit anticlimactic at times.

Additionally, during the third act it seems like the movie runs out of steam. It’s still good, but isn’t as entertaining as the first two.

Despite these drawbacks, though, the film still works as a whole, largely thanks to how the characters were written. As previously stated, the characters are cleverer than they initially appear when it’s revealed how well they plan their heist, yet they’re also down-to-Earth enough to be fairly believable.

Credit of course has to go to the performances, too, especially Tatum’s. He both captures his character’s sense of sticking up for his family by all means necessary, even if that means getting in a fight, while also being a rather cool and calm guy just trying to get by. It’s a realistic performance and keeps the movie grounded in its West Virginia roots.

Driver does similar work portraying Jimmy’s brother. Clyde is quiet and somewhat sullen for much of the movie, and it’s apparent this is related to him losing his arm while he was serving in the military. It’s not as if this is outright explained, but it can be read between the lines thanks to Driver’s work. Soderbergh’s direction keeps this from breaking the overall fun, entertaining tone of the film, though, using it to explore character depth instead.

Stealing a lot of scenes in the picture, though, is Craig. He’s basically unrecognizable when compared to his work as James Bond, playing a crass, energetic and short tempered character here with not much regard for rules. His charisma and energy are a great contrast to the Logan brothers, too, creating for a solid dynamic when it comes to their interactions.

Some of the other performances, such as Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson portraying Joe’s brothers, as well as Hillary Swank playing an FBI agent, lend to the film’s strengths.

“Logan Lucky” is also extremely well shot, making the audience feel like they’re deep in rural West Virginia or in the middle of a huge NASCAR event. On top of setting the scene, the crew did a great job in capturing the emotions of the characters and the intensity of the heist.

Overall, “Lucky” is a humorous, enjoyable cinematic experience. It may not be Soderbergh’s best film, but there’s some really good stuff here on all levels. 4.2 out of 5.