Logan Lucky

Jay-Z announced his retirement from the rap game in 2003 with his Black Album. He was back three years later. Barbara Streisand retired from public performance in 2000 but has since toured the world not once but twice. Clint Eastwood declared his intention to retire from acting after 2008’s Gran Torino “You always want to quit while you are ahead” — then appeared in the forgettable 2012 movie Trouble With the Curve. Alec Baldwin wrote “Goodbye, public life” in New York Magazine but made three movies the following year. Shia LaBeouf infamous marked his 2014 retirement with his “I’m not famous anymore” campaign, then signed up for a movie role 3 weeks later. Cher embarked on a 3-year farewell tour, then signed up for Las Vegas residency as soon as it ended. Michael Jordan retired from basketball, played a little baseball, then went back to basketball. Point being: fools keep retiring, then unretiring. Director Steven Soderbergh belongs on the list, after telling everyone in 2013 that he’d lost his passion for film making, and that was it for him. Logan Lucky is the movie that brought him out of “retirement” – was it worth it?

loganluckybros.0Having directed Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve AND Thirteen (and producing the upcoming Eight), Soderbergh is no stranger to heist movies, but considers this one to be their “anti-glam” cousin. Logan Lucky’s characters are gritty, the setting low-rent, the heist a lot less slick – but not uninteresting.

The Logan family consists of brothers Jimmy (Channing Tatum) and Clyde (Adam Driver), and little sister Mellie (Riley Keough). They’re known locally for the Logan family curse; Clyde believes the bad luck sets in just as things start to pick up for them. He recently lost an arm just as his deployment was ending in Iraq. Jimmy, meanwhile, has just lost his job at the mines where he uncovered a bunch of tubes that blast cash money from a NASCAR speedway to an underground bank vault. You can practically see the light bulb go BING! above his head. Soon he’s plotting an elaborate sting that will reverse the family’s fortunes. The one little hitch in is plan is that the heist requires the expertise of Joe Bang, bomb maker (Daniel Craig). And it just so happens that Joe Bang’s in prison. Which means to pull of the heist, they first have to break Joe out of (and then back into) prison.

The caper’s afoot! Logan Lucky has a fun ensemble cast that keep things spicy. The film works because Soderbergh reaches for his familiar bag of tricks: a zippy pace, an almost zany plot. These characters are perhaps not the cleverest, they’re reaching above their pay grade. Half the fun is watching things go wonky. Instead of plot twists, Logan Lucky is peppered with…shall we call them mishaps? Small calamities that keep you groaning, and guessing. It’s almost farcical, and to that end, it’s well-cast. The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, and Daniel Craig is its shining, absurd beacon, stealing all the scenes he’s in and making you anticipate his next one when we’re following someone else.

Unfortunately, the movie really loses steam during its last act. Introducing Hilary Swank as the detective pursuing the case feels both rushed and drawn-out at the same time, somehow. Plus she’s kind of awful. But you know what? The film’s final 10 seconds save the whole damn thing, the cinematic equivalent of a smirk and a wink, and I fell for it.

Welcome back, Mr. Soderbergh.


17 thoughts on “Logan Lucky

  1. Kariyanine

    I love a good heist movie and while the Ocean’s films weren’t perfect (and I thought 12 was a train wreck) they had a sense of style to them. This seems to fit in that vein and I’m really excited to see it this week.


  2. Birgit

    The movie sounds good and I can forgive Hilary Swank being in it. I am never surprised when they return to bring in film or directing it. I roll my eyes when they say they are done. I can think of one who went out near the top and, although asked back more than once, never returned…Greta Garbo. She was a strange one and gave up after she got her first negative criticism and the film bombed so I don’t count her really:)


  3. J.

    I wasn’t so sure about this one and after reading your review I’m still not so sure. I do like a heist movie, though… so there’s every chance I’ll see this.


  4. Tom

    Well said at the end there esp; I felt there was no need for the detective thread, and (lol at Hillary Swank) I really didn’t understand why Macon Blair was pulled in to this. Just added to the star power I guess.

    Funny how I cooed over this cast, star-studded as all hell, then (as you just read) I ripped The Circle to shreds for almost the same. I’m as fickle as a pickle


    1. Jeff the Chef

      Me too. When Swank showed up, I thought, good God, how long is this movie? But I guess they had to show the robbery’s aftermath so they could explain the reveal at the end. And there was some subtle cleverness in how they showed the ineptitude of the investigation. Plus, it all made Swank’s final scene so perfect. Still, though, the pacing of the movie is weird once the detectives show up.


      1. Tom

        Yeah! That’s the exact reaction I had around that point. I felt a panic as though another hour or more were coming. Not that i wasnt enjoying myself but yeah, that last subplot tended to break up the rhythm


  5. Jeff the Chef

    I liked it. There were parts – especially starting with the scene where Jimmy presents the robbery plan to Clyde, and following through the county fair, that are brilliant. That stretch of the film alone is worth the price of a mission. Adam Driver is brilliant. Jimmy is a great role for Tatum. Some aspects of the movie are formulaic and as such predictable, but nonetheless well done. I found the whole thing thoroughly enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. aristobulonietoalcaraz

    There were parts – especially starting with the prospect where Jimmy presents the robbery architectural plan to Clyde, and following through the county just, that are splendid. The movie sounds skillful and I can forgive Hilary Swank being in it.



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