LOGAN LUCKY; the movie has an ungainly title, but apart from this, it fires on all cylinders. As in all good heist films, the audience should want the would-be criminals to get away with their clever plan. The Logans are worthy subjects for our cinematic admiration. The three siblings live in West Virginia and they’re doing it tough. Jimmy (Channing Tatum) was going to be a professional football player but blew out his knee. He has just lost his construction job and this affects his ability to pay child support. Worse still, his ex-wife Bobby Jo (Katie Holmes) wants to move to a neighbouring state with their 10-year-old daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie). Jimmy and Sadie are bonded tight.
Jimmy’s sister Mellie (Riley Keough) is more fortunate and is earning a living as a hair-dresser. Their brother, war veteran Clyde (Adam Driver), did two tours in Iraq and came back maimed by the fighting. These days he’s bartender. Clyde has a theory that there is a Logan Curse. Jimmy decides it’s time to change his life and his luck and he hatches a plan to rob the proceeds of the Charlotte Motor Speedway during a NASCAR race. In addition to using the Logan clan (no trust issues), he decides to enlist the help of explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) to help blow open a vault. Unfortunately, Joe comes with two dim brothers. He is also in prison.
The film’s director Steven Soderbergh claimed to have retired after 2013’s terrific Liberace biopic BEHIND THE CANDELABRA. Given his age (54) and being the sort of filmmaker who revels in a variety of different genres and subjects, it was always reasonable to hope he would return to doing what he does best. LOGAN LUCKY sees Soderbergh in top form. Tatum and Driver excel in their roles. Riley Keough is fun. More screen time for Katherine Waterston would have been a good thing, but that is a mere quibble. And yes, Daniel Craig is a frickin’ delight, folks.
The movie earns our good will; it is comedic, but not satirical. The Logans are not stereotyped as red-neck fools for working with their hands and being NASCAR fans. In this era of political dissatisfaction and vicious culture war, these creative choices are a welcome change of pace.
LOGAN LUCKY is polished, funny, fast-moving entertainment. It runs for 119 minutes. So, drop a few bucks and spend some time with your new favourite blue-collar outlaws. (8/10)