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Film Review: Logan Lucky

LiveMint logoLiveMint 08-09-2017 Udita Jhunjhunwala

Steven Soderbergh’s latest caper has been marketed on the back of a bleached-blonde Daniel Craig replacing his suit with a prisoner’s onesie and his humourless 007 with his best effort at a Southern American drawl. Craig plays Joe Bang, a convict renowned for being skilled in blowing open vaults.

When Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) loses his job and is in danger of losing visitation rights with his daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie), he teams up with his one-armed brother Clyde (Adam Driver) and masterminds an elaborate robbery plan. This after a character has already pointed out to the brothers, “You Logans must be as simpleminded as people say.”

But considering the complexity of the heist, the pulling together of a team with questionable intellect (three Logans and three Bangs) and the final outcome, you wonder why a man clearly smart enough to come up with this plan works dead-end jobs. But that’s a question for scriptwriter Rebecca Blunt to ponder. Blunt’s script is largely clever and she finds a fine partner in Soderbergh to highlight the detailing.

Soderbergh, who mastered the heist structure and rhythm with the Ocean’s movies, keeps Logan Lucky rustic. Clyde woke up one morning after a bar brawl with a cocky British energy drink promoter (Seth Macfarlane doing a dreadful version of a cockney accent) to find that Jimmy has pinned up a robbery checklist.

The soundtrack is dominated by John Denver tunes and the focus of the great robbery is the Charlotte Motor Speedway, which is hosting a popular NASCAR rally. Some distance away, Sadie is sporting spray tan, hair extensions and frighteningly adult make-up as she prepares to compete in a pageant. For the talent round, her song of choice is the rather inappropriate Umbrella by Rihanna. But Soderbergh does not dwell on political incorrectness, just peppering it in here and there as a tongue-in-cheek comment on society and its mundane preoccupations.

Katie Holmes plays Jimmy’s ex-wife, the third Logan sibling Millie—a hairstylist—is played by Riley Keough, Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson play the younger Bang brothers and add to the comedy. Katherine Waterston and Hilary Swank make appearances in completely dispensable parts—the former setting up a romantic angle for Jimmy and the latter as an FBI agent assigned to solving the crime. With a gentler pace, less swag and more humane characters than the Ocean’s franchise, Lucky Logan comes with a twist, plenty of spirit and is gratifying in its own way.

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