There’s something to be said about returning to one’s comfort zones…
With this weekend marking the return to the silver screen of cinematic auteur Steven Soderbergh and his new film Logan Lucky we see him hitting some familiar but tried and true beats with a fun all be it familiar affair that sees him easing back into filmmaking territory that he has explored before.
Life for the Logan brothers has always seemed to be a little cursed and when Jimmy (Channing Tatum) gets let go from his job and he’s at his wits end, he enlists the help of his brother Clyde (Adam Driver) to finally change their fortunes and break the family curse. They plan to do that by executing an elaborate heist at the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Coca-Cola 600, the biggest NASCAR race of the season.
Call it Ocean’s 7/11 if you like but Logan Lucky is like watching Michael Jordan step back on the basketball court after years away from the game. Sure, Soderbergh is a little rusty as a director and may lean on some well played out beats but he is still delivering at or near the top of his game in making a fun, heartfelt and a little bit gonzo family crime caper dramedy.
It feels apropos that Soderbergh made this a family affair, as his first time screenwriter Rebecca Blunt is actually rumored to be his own wife; Jules Asner. If that’s true then it actually makes a whole lot of sense as the film plays with such a familiar and subtle ease that it must have been a collaboration where familiarity is the key. Soderbergh brings his trade mark style to the proceedings and is just as deft as navigating the wiles of North Carolina as he is the male strip clubs of Tampa and the glitzy corridors of Las Vegas. It looks and feels like he hasn’t missed a beat and it all fits like a glove. The script is solid with a myriad of engaging characters and despite the fact that you know he really isn’t reinventing the wheel with this one; you just can’t help but be happy that he’s back. The narrative even pokes fun at himself and his recent years throughout the story in a fun little nod for the hardcore Soderbergh fan’s which only adds to the layers that are all peeling out in front of us. Its satire, its drama, its action and its goofball comedy all rolled into one.
Soderbergh regular Channing Tatum slides into the loveable screw up role with such ease that I think we are starting to take him for granted as an actor. He’s that rare combo of being beautiful yet affable all at the same time as every woman in the audience wants to be with him, and every guy just wants to have a beer with him. He really is the Soderbergh every man and he plays it to a tee. Adam Driver was fun as his brother but the genuine show stealer in this film was 007 himself. Daniel Craig as Joe Bang really showed a side of himself in this role that we quite frankly need to see more of, he got to break out of his James Bond shell with an infectiously fun performance. Seth McFarlane hams it up as the British owner/tycoon behind a NASCAR race team but the balance of the ensemble including Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, David Denman, Brian Gleeson, Jake Quaid, Katherine Waterston (who shows up in only three scenes as a flirty ex-paramour of Jimmy’s), Dwight Yoakam, Hillary Swank, Macon Blair and Sebastian Stan just don’t get that much to do and it feels a little like over done stunt casting.
At the end of the day, Logan Lucky is a success because of the obvious ease in which Soderbergh can tell a story on the big screen and an unhinged performance from a Daniel Craig eager to do something that was about as far away from Bond that he could possibly find.
- Release Date: 8/18/2017