Director: Steven Soderbergh
Screenwriter: Rebecca Blunt
Runtime: 119 mins.
Australian release date: 17 August 2107
Previewed at: Event Cinemas, George Street, Sydney, on 7 August 2017.
“No one was robbed in the making of this movie. Just you.” So says a disclaimer at the end of Steven Soderbergh’s new comedy heist movie Logan Lucky. Regrettably, he’s right… well, almost. There are some good things about the film but somehow the total is less than the sum of its parts. It seems like an odd choice to come out of his three year feature film-making hiatus with this particular project when you consider just how diverse his filmography is and how bold a director he can be. What’s even stranger is that ‘Rebecca Blunt,’ the credited screenwriter, is suspected to be a pseudonym for another writer – Soderbergh perhaps? It’s obviously a film that’s close to his heart because he produced it on his own, with no studio involvement. Oh, and he shot it and cut it, too.
Brothers Jimmy (Channing Tatum) and Clyde Logan (Adam Driver) have long suspected there’s a curse on their family; for one thing Clyde lost an arm in Iraq. Along with their sister Mellie (Riley Keogh), they seem to be perennially down on their luck, stuck in low-paying jobs. When Jimmy is fired from his position working on a building site at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, host to a famous NASCAR race, he hits upon an idea to rob the speedway during one of its busiest days of the year and for this he needs the help of the infamous safe-blower Joe Bang (Daniel Craig). There’s only one problem, the platinum-crew-cut-sporting-Gautier-look-a-like Joe is in gaol but the boys have a plan for that too and Joe’s willing to go along with it as long as they employ his brothers, Fish (Jack Quaid) and Sam (Brian Gleeson). Trouble is Fish and Sam ain’t the sharpest knives in the drawer. If that sounds like the set-up for a disaster, it is - kind of.
Logan Lucky is set in West Virginia, which has the dubious distinction of having the highest overdose death rate from prescription and illegal opiates in the USA, but you won’t see any evidence of that here. Hell, these good ol’ boys don’t even seem to get drunk very often. They’re just salt-of-the-earth types who like to steal stuff every now and again. Driver and Craig hit the right note for their roles but Tatum’s character seems a bit too earnest for this comedy caper. Jimmy is separated from his wife (Katie Holmes) and is desperately trying to maintain contact with his son, so maybe he hasn’t got a lot to laugh about. And that’s the thing, it seems like Logan Lucky isn’t quite sure of what it wants to be, a light-hearted heist movie or something a little more dramatic, and consequently it isn’t quite one or the other.