A mixture of Rebecca Blunt’s stellar narrative plus fantastic performances from Adam Driver and Daniel Craig make Logan Lucky one hell of a good a time.
The story centers around the Logan brothers. Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) is a former high school superstar quarterback whose career was cut short by a traumatic knee injury. Not knowing what to do with his life, Logan drifts through job after job failing at every turn until he gets work as a construction worker at the local speedway. On top of everything, his marriage is in shambles, as Logan barely has custody of his daughter. Just when things couldn’t get much worse, he finds out his ex-wife (played by Katie Holmes), her new husband and their daughter are moving outside of Boone County, West Virgina. The move infuriates Logan, and he vows to get a lawyer. The only problem with such a declaration is that they cost money and he’s broke (plus he was fired earlier in the day for a workman’s comp issue). So Logan hatches a plan to rob Charlotte Motor Speedway with the help of his brother played by Adam Driver.
Daniel Craig! His portrayal of incarcerated explosives expert Joe Bang was without question the biggest highlight of the film for me. The character is completely oblivious to any sense of right and wrong and most societal norms but makes up for it with an unusual amount of chemistry knowledge that allows him to turn anything into an explosive. His deadpan comedic delivery and charm liven up any scene he’s in. Logan Lucky wouldn’t nearly have been the movie it turned out to be if Craig hadn’t portrayed Mr. Bang.
While Driver looks nothing like his onscreen brother, the chemistry that those two have are another reason why this film takes off. Tatum’s character is the muscle and the brains behind this heist. Driver’s character is the logic and reason. The Logans’ complement each other well. Driver’s dry wit and backwoods mentality hit all the comedic beats in the film.
Blunt’s narrative captures the disenfranchised portions of rural America. The Logans’ want a better life and feel deep down they deserve one. After all, one brother was the star QB while the other one had half of his arm blown off fighting for his country. She’s able to find the humor in these circumstances and in the people they surround themselves with.
Soderbergh’s direction gave the film a down home quality. Instead of shots of the motor speedway and high-speed getaways, we were treated to shots of local establishments and the back of a hair salon. This gave the caper a country twist and a southern tinge. Just as he brought out the idiosyncrasies of each character in Oceans 11, the quirkiness of this southern fried crew is on full display.
For being released so late in the summer movie season, Logan Lucky is a surprisingly good film. The humor and the wit in the script are well balanced. For those walking into see the film expecting some combination of Joe Dirt meets Oceans 11 certainly will be pleasantly surprised by the final product. Maybe this release benefits in large part due to diminished expectations? Perhaps, but that doesn’t diminish my desire to recommend this movie to everyone.