Logan Lucky – movie review

by Russell Baillie / 24 August, 2017

Help us find and write the stories Kiwis need to read

RelatedArticlesModule - Logan Lucky

Brothers Fish (Jack Quaid), Sam (Brian Gleeson) and Joe Bang (Daniel Craig).

Steven Soderbergh returns to deliver a dozy but enjoyable star-studded heist movie. 

It comes with shiny muscle cars, rusty pick-up trucks, a pre-teen beauty pageant and its stars include Elvis Presley’s granddaughter. Its most touching scene involves a certain John Denver ode to West Virginia. The punchlines to its jokes are mostly delivered in a drawl.

Yes, there is certainly something deep-fried and southern to Logan Lucky, an enjoyable if dozy romp of a heist movie that marks the return of director and American indie film pioneer Steven Soderbergh.

He’s back from a supposed retirement from film directing after his 2013 Liberace movie Behind the Candelabra. Logan Lucky also returns him to a favourite genre and to his geographical roots.

He’s done star-studded heist movies before with his Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13. And although his new film stops short of Confederate flags on car roofs, the gentle rednecks that Soderbergh brings to life here seem done out of affection.

This Ocean’s comparison is actually overheard in one scene and there are other parallels.

Instead of a Las Vegas hotel vault, a huge Nascar track in Charlotte substitutes as the symbolic all-American temple of cash that a motley crew hatch a plan to raid. But instead of rat-pack slickness and Mission: Impossible-style wizardry of the Ocean’s films, Logan Lucky has an ambling easy charm with occasional bursts of low-tech action.

Its tone veers near Coen Brothers goofball, but nothing is too forced. Which is both the film’s charm and slight undoing – its two-hour running time is a bit much for how much gas it has in the tank.

The heist is led by Logan brothers Jimmy and Clyde (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver both in good form), with help from sister Mellie (Riley Keough, daughter of Lisa Marie Presley).

Divorced father of one Jimmy has been laid off thanks to an old injury. War veteran Clyde tends bar with his one good arm. They see a chance to raid the vault that collects race fans’ beer money and recruit expert help in the form of explosives guy Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), with his low-wattage brothers along for the ride.

That Joe is incarcerated for past misdeeds may seem a hitch. It’s not. And Craig’s batty turn is the film’s best sideshow.

Less amusing is the reliably annoying Seth MacFarlane, who plays a Brit race-team sponsor in a performance that feels as if he’s escaped from Will Farrell’s Nascar comedy, Talladega Nights.

He’s a bum note in a movie that’s otherwise groovy, courtesy of Soderbergh’s regular soundtrack guy, David Holmes.

IN CINEMAS NOW

★★★1/2

This article was first published in the August 26, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

Relax at Ambler, a new contemporary cafe-bistro in Point Chev
92505 2018-06-18 09:49:29Z Auckland Eats

Relax at Ambler, a new contemporary cafe-bistro in…

by Kate Milliken

Julien Albe and Matthieu Gosset's new venture Ambler has been a long time coming.

Read more
'Stay safe': The problem with telling women how not to be attacked by a man
92495 2018-06-18 07:09:25Z Social issues

'Stay safe': The problem with telling women how no…

by Bianca Fileborn

The rape and murder of a young comedian in Melbourne this week sparked outrage - fuelled by police telling women to "stay safe".

Read more
Jacinda Ardern's challenging last full week as Prime Minister
92490 2018-06-18 06:10:16Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern's challenging last full week as Pri…

by Jane Patterson

If Jacinda Ardern was hoping for an easy slide into maternity leave, her main coalition partner wasn't helping her.

Read more
Why Melania Trump is the reluctant First Lady
92500 2018-06-18 00:00:00Z World

Why Melania Trump is the reluctant First Lady

by Joanne Black

Even before her recent “disappearance”, US First Lady Melania Trump’s commitment to the role was publicly doubted.

Read more
How to know if you have coeliac disease
92118 2018-06-18 00:00:00Z Health

How to know if you have coeliac disease

by The Listener

Coeliac NZ suggests you consider getting tested if you have some or all of the following symptoms of coeliac disease.

Read more
For coeliac disease sufferers, there's hope of treatment on the horizon
92091 2018-06-18 00:00:00Z Nutrition

For coeliac disease sufferers, there's hope of tre…

by Nicky Pellegrino

As many as 100,000 New Zealanders, many of them undiagnosed, are afflicted by coeliac disease.

Read more
As Jacinda Ardern takes her baby exit - the show goes on
92466 2018-06-17 00:00:00Z Politics

As Jacinda Ardern takes her baby exit - the show g…

by Graham Adams

The PM can happily go off on maternity leave knowing there is a cast of colourful and capable people to fill the gap — most notably Winston Peters.

Read more
The Spanish flu pandemic killed more than WWI. Are we prepared for the next?
92222 2018-06-17 00:00:00Z Health

The Spanish flu pandemic killed more than WWI. Are…

by Sally Blundell

This year marks a century since a flu pandemic killed 9000 NZers. Three more such plagues have swept the world since then – and another is inevitable.

Read more