Logan Lucky takes all of the fun of a heist movie and sets it in an environment with characters that make you constantly second guess them.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Summary: Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.
The heist movie has been around for decades, but director Steven Soderbergh really helped elevate it to new heights for the modern audience with his stylized and slick remake of Ocean’s 11 and its sequels. He’s working in very much the same wheelhouse as the Ocean’s movies, but instead of a bunch of Hollywood-looking pretty people, we have a bunch of people that no one would ever expect to be smart enough to pull something like that off. It’s what makes the movie almost genius; it knows what the audience is going to expect from these characters, so when it turns out how ahead of the game they all were it makes you laugh at the same moment every one else is figuring out the same thing.
Soderbergh looks at NASCAR and its surrounding culture, and there isn’t a moment where poking fun at these characters comes across as mean spirited. In fact, as the movie goes on, it becomes apparent that Soderbergh and his writer Rebecca Blunt, have a lot of love for this world. This is a movie that could have easily devolved into cheap jokes at the expense of rednecks, but instead it all comes across as earnest. It helps that the entire cast is game for it as they submerge themselves in the necessary mannerisms and accents. Daniel Craig is the standout as a convict the brothers break out of prison for the job. Apparently, he’s a great character actor and we never knew.
It’s just a shame that the movie isn’t as funny as it should be. With such a great cast on display and so much material that is just aching for a laugh, there aren’t as many as you want there to be. You’re going to laugh, and it does prove that Soderbergh needs to come out of retirement, but there is a little something missing from the movie that keeps it from being great. It runs at just under two hours, so perhaps the pacing feels a little off. When the movie works, it works like gangbusters, but there are some moments when it’s like the movie is about the jump the rails. While there are some characters that are developed well, there are also a few who are unremarkable blurs. The groups in the Ocean’s movies were larger, but everyone was memorable. There are a few people here who appear to have been added just because there needed to be another set of hands.
Logan Lucky is a movie that will find an audience who will likely fall in love with it. There are some great laughs, and it spends most of its run-time upending your expectations in a good way. There just aren’t enough laughs, and a few underdeveloped characters that keep it from being great.
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