By Leslie C. Halpern
Southern rednecks and the fast-paced cinematic style of director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen) may not seem like the perfect fit, but somehow this hillbilly heist film gets off to a fast start, gains traction, and continues smoothly toward the finish line.
The Iraq War took its toll on the Logan family. Jimmy (Channing Tatum) wears a knee brace to support his leg, but still walks with a noticeable limp. His younger brother, Clyde (Adam Driver), wears a prosthetic device to replace his lost hand and forearm. Both brothers are barely getting by financially since they returned home. Now divorced, Jimmy dotes on his young daughter during his visitation times, but finds that his temporary construction jobs don’t always pay the bills. Likewise, Clyde lives a rather dreary existence as the bartender at a local pub, with Jimmy as his best friend.
A Planned Heist at the Charlotte Motor Speedway
When Jimmy’s ex-wife (Katie Holmes) and her rich new husband decide to move across state lines with Jimmy’s daughter, he realizes that with no job, no cell phone, and no money, he will lose touch with his little girl. So with this motivation in mind, Jimmy hatches a plan to combine forces with Clyde and their incarcerated explosives expert friend, Joe Bang (Daniel Craig as a bleached blond, tattooed redneck criminal). Joe insists on involving his two moronic brothers (Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson) into the scheme, as well. But how can a few uneducated hillbillies pull off a complicated major heist during NASCAR races at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina, the work site from which Jimmy was recently fired?
The fun in this movie lies in watching the guys work through this seemingly impossible feat. It’s also a mystery which one (if any of them) is truly the brains of this operation. Despite the tension involving Joe Bang’s jailbreak and the meticulous details of stealing the money, the film finds humor in the most unlikely places. In addition, the father-daughter bond adds a layer of depth to the film, and makes Jimmy a more sympathetic character.
A Film That’s Fast and Fun
Fast-paced and fun, Logan Lucky includes an interesting cast. Channing Tatum (who worked with Soderbergh in Magic Mike) again reveals a big-hearted character beneath a hunky exterior. Although Adam Driver looks nothing like Tatum, his skillful portrayal as the stoic, slow-paced, one-armed bartender and Jimmy’s younger brother make him completely believable in the role. Daniel Craig is an unexpected delight as the tough criminal with a sensitive stomach and an eye for the Logan brother’s sexy younger sister (Riley Keough). Small parts by Seth McFarlane (a flamboyant British racer) and Dwight Yoakam (weasily prison warden) may be brief, but they’re certainly memorable.
Don’t take your eyes of the screen for a moment or you’ll miss something in this slick film with humor and heart, and, of course, heist.
- Two unlucky brothers plan a major heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.
- Stars: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Seth McFarlane, Hilary Swank, David Denman, Jack Quaid, Brian Gleeson, Dwight Yoakam, Sebastian Stan, Jeff Gordon
- Director: Steven Soderbergh
- Screenwriter: Rebecca Blunt
- Genre: Crime Comedy/Drama
- Run Time: 119 minutes
- MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for language and some crude comments)