Steven Soderbergh’s self-imposed retirement from filmmaking lasted about as long as a Donald Trump election promise, so its kind of fitting that his new film is set in Republican country, West Virginia.
It’s a heist movie, which Soderbergh can direct in his sleep, but unlike the unlucky Ocean’s Thirteen, this character-driven caper comedy isn’t a phoned-in job.
The Logan brothers, Jimmy (Channing Tatum) and Clyde (Adam Driver), plot to fleece the local NASCAR speedway via the system of underground tunnels where Jimmy worked in construction, giving him an insider’s view on the vacuum tube system that carries the track’s loot.
Mention of a Logan family curse suggests their plan is doomed to failure, but this seemingly dim-witted duo could just be sharp enough to pull it off, especially with the help of explosives whiz Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) and their getaway driver sister (Riley Keough).
Rachel Blunt’s screenplay pilfers from the best in the heist genre, and ensures the elaborate set-ups and incidental scenes all pay-off nicely when it comes to the final act. It also throws in a cleverly staged prison break complete with George R.R. Martin gags and Dwight Yoakam as the warden.
The mechanics of the heist prove secondary, however, to the enjoyment of spending two hours in the company of a bunch of redneck misfits for whom John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ is an anthem, Fast and the Furious is a family film, and a daughter must be spray tanned prior to competing in a kiddie talent contest.
Casting against type is the film’s major windfall, with Soderbergh’s Magic mate Tatum as an oafish single dad, Driver as a deadpan amputee barman, and Craig as a bleached-blonde Bondshell with a southern drawl – who steals scenes while the rest are stealing greenbacks. Seth MacFarlane’s brash Brit and his dodgy accent should have been consigned to the deleted scenes, though.
With a convenience store figuring into the heist, a throwaway line succinctly sums up Logan Lucky – “it’s like Ocean’s 7–11.”
In cinemas: August 17, 2017
Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh