Logan Lucky: A Southern Heist
Foreigners mistakenly assume the South is just full of rednecks, but there’s more to it than that. Logan Lucky is a film that embodies all of the Southern “pride”, and turns these stereotypes into a successful heist farce. The film is an absolute riot, with moments of absurdness, with a great cast and a sharp-solid screenplay. In short, it’s a delight.
Logan Lucky marks the return of director Steven Sodenbergh, after his so-called retirement (never trust a director to truly retire) from cinema. Based loosely off the Loomis Fargo Bank Robbery, otherwise known as ”the hillbilly heist”, of 1997, this film is a rock solid crime caper/heist film that tells the story of two brothers, Jimmy and Clyde Logan (played by Channing Tatum and Adam Driver), who scheme to blow up a bank during a Coca-Cola 600 race event, after Jimmy is fired. The heist involves the two brothers breaking Joe Bang, a convicted safecracker (played by Daniel Craig), out of jail, and teaming up with Joe’s two dim witted brothers, Sam and Fish (played by Brian Gleeson and Jack Quaid), and Logan’s own sister, Mellie (played by Riley Keough). Complications arise though, when Clyde loses his hand during a vacuuming incident, and he and Joe are spotted by Max Chilblain (played by Seth MacFarlane), and his sponsored NASCAR driver, Dayton White (played by Sebastian Stan), eventually leading to the hiring of FBI agent, Sarah Grayson (played by Hilary Swank), to investigate the aftermath of the scam.
Logan Lucky works on the strength of its characters, and it’s insanity. In fact, Logan Lucky is stock full of moments that don’t really make any sense, but fit within the narrative of the film enough that they actually work. Like there’s a sequence where the two brothers, Jimmy and Clyde, receive their shipment from a strange man in a bear costume. Also, CGI cockroaches are discovered in a cake during a scene in a restaurant. There’s very laugh-out loud moments, too, including an entire prison scene where the prisoners make comparisons to George R. R. Martin’s book, that he never seems to finish (development hell), from his series, Song of Fire and Ice (also known as Game of Thrones, The Winds of Winter). The film is drenched in its Southernness with a soundtrack consisting of a lot of Rock and Country instrumentals in the background, performed by electronic musician, David Holmes, who also wrote the musical scores for Ocean’s trilogy, and Out of Sight.
As is often the case with Sodenbergh’s films, the cast plays a big part in why the film works as well as it does. Channing Tatum, as a macho Southern guy, is silly and likeable, while Adam Driver, as his brother, plays a sad sack of a character, but the real star of the show is Daniel Craig as Joe Bang. Bleach blonde with a crazy accent, Craig shows how much more versatile he is than people give him credit for. He’s an absolute hoot in this film, and he delivers a dead serious comedic performance. The rest of the cast does their parts well, too. Other cast members include Katie Holmes as the nagging ex-wife, Brian Gleeson and Jack Quaid as Bang’s brothers, Katherine Watterson as a passerby, and they even have time to throw in actual Southern actors such as Country singer/actor Dwight Yoakam, who appears as the stern warden trying to keep things under control during the prison breakout portion of the film.
The movie has a stacked cast, but, eventually, it runs out of steam, as this kind of silliness can’t sustain itself forever. I had a good time at Logan Lucky. It certainly works thanks to its eccentric cast of characters and directing choices.
Now playing in Hanover at The Nugget Theater - 6:40, 9:10 PM.
To read my Wind River review, click here.
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