Review: Logan Lucky

Logan Lucky is a comedy heist thriller starring Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as the titular Logan brothers planning a daring heist on the NASCAR Speedway. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, it follows a well-trodden formula of the Ocean’s films but delivers it with a strong comedic streak which permeates its characters and structure.

Channing Tatum as Jimmy Logan is a strong primary protagonist who you really enjoy following. His relationship with his daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie) is endearing and funny. Adam Driver continues to be one of my favourite actors playing Jimmy’s dim-witted one-armed brother Clyde Logan, and every line he delivers is hilarious. Soderbergh’s casting of Daniel Craig as a bleach blonde southern prisoner called Joe Bang is unorthodox but he’s an excellent choice. Craig is simply the funniest I’ve ever seen him.

Riley Keough as Jimmy and Clyde’s sister Nellie Logan feel underused. She serves mainly as the getaway driver and has a very limited character beyond that. Seth MacFarlane is unconventional as a NASCAR coach with that Soderbergh staple: an abysmal English accent. He’s incredibly irritating but this does serve the purpose of cementing the character as an annoying, arrogant idiot (MacFarlane does this well, no idea why).  Hillary Swank’s performance as an FBI agent is peculiar as she is introduced far too late into the film. She seems like an important character but her scenes are some of the least entertaining and slow the pace of the film.

Soderbergh holds shots for a long time in order to create comedy. Most of the humour comes from the characterful moments in the gaps between the action – a respite through comedy. One particularly funny moment occurs during a prison riot where the demands of the prisoners include the newest (and unreleased) George RR Martin book. The film is also very well choreographed and intelligent; as you witness the plan unfold, it’s plausible and intriguing.

One of my few criticisms of the film is the lack of motivation to commit the heist. Jimmy and Clyde just decide to do it after Jimmy loses his job and they get into a bar fight with MacFarlane’s Max. After last year’s exceptionally well motivated Hell or High Water where the reasons for the robbery were clear and realistic, Logan Lucky is blatantly lacking. This lack of motivation is something which the film draws attention to. Joe Bang’s brothers demand a moral reason to be a part of the crime, and accept a flimsy one. I feel that the characters are given little reason to perform the heist but despite this I was firmly on the side of these heroes, mainly because I liked their characters.

Logan Lucky is a very enjoyable, funny and entertaining blockbuster which has topped off a summer of average blockbusters with a bang. The performances are mostly excellent and despite a few lapses in logic early this is still a hugely entertaining cinema experience.

Logan Lucky is in cinemas nationwide now. Image source: Vox.com