Logan Lucky film review ****


Logan Lucky, 30th August

Every so often BD and myself settle down to take in one, two, or sometimes all three, of the Ocean’s films (not sure if that is grammatically correct). The pleasure lies in knowing exactly what is going to happen and in the happy feeling it brings on. So boo hoo me as BD will be off soon into the big wide world but I reckon we might still get a few more viewings on her intermittent returns.

And now we can add Logan Lucky to the stable. It is Steven Soderbergh directing again and once again it is an impossible heist movie that goes right (for the perpetrators), with a cracking twist and no real victims. What’s not to like. Well nothing as it turns out.

Now in contrast to the Ocean’s stable our heroes are not Flash Harrys (or whatever the US equivalent is) and we are a long way from glamorous Las Vegas. West Virginia to be exact complete with John Denver, NASCAR, roadside bar, country fair, beauty pageant, and penitentiary. Divorcee and single dad Jimmy (Channing Tatum sporting a subtle limp) is booted out of his job so turns to brother Clyde (Adam Driver doing the full on wry, droll Adam Driver shtick) and sassy sister (Riley Keough) to pull the heist and get rich quick. To make the plan work they need local big crim Joe Bang to literally provide the bang – trouble is he is in the nick. Daniel Craig as Joe doesn’t hold back. Dyed blonde buzz cut, guns permanently flexed and a ludicrous Southern drawl. (Mind you this is not the worst accent by some margin – cue Seth MacFarlane  as a British drinks entrepreneur – surely the worst mangled Cockaneee since Dick van Dyke). For no particular reason other than comic effect the unlikely Bang brothers are roped in (Brian Gleeson and Jack Quaid – as bozo cliched as you like) and the convoluted plan is set.

And a marvellously entertaining plan it is. No details here. Go see for yourself. What is most heartening though is the affection with which the film treats its characters. This means there is a welcome focus on the lives of, particularly, the Logan siblings, and from this emerges a very gentle morality tale about the fairness of life in modern (in this case white) America.  The Logans have a history of bad luck – hence the title – and this story marks some form of recompense. We laugh with, not at, these characters. Not always laugh out loud but audible chuckles certainly. Lovely stuff.

So the inverse in some ways of the Ocean’s crew. But you will feel the same, if not more, affection for the Logan crew and you will get the same pleasure in seeing how the deed was done. And it is funnier. And, it its own way, as cool. We know Steven Soderbergh is a masterly and versatile film-maker (roll on Ocean’s 8). But I was most impressed here with writer Rebecca Blunt. And I loved the soundtrack. Can’t wait for a second instalment.