Logan Lucky review: Pure racing magic

Chad White
Loves: 99% of the cast, heist movies
Likes: A good twist
Dislikes: Nascar, advertising
Hates: Retirement

In-car-ce-re-ted.

It’s not often a movie with a lauded cast and crew releases to little fanfare. Nor is there such little advertising to go along with it. But that’s what director Steven Soderbergh wanted with his first post-retirement film, Logan Lucky. He saw no need for the movie to be handled by big distribution and production companies. By the time they got their hands on the movie, it’d cost more than it should have and marketing would’ve taken a sizeable portion of the budget. With Soderbergh in charge, everything came out exactly as he wanted it to.

Channing Tatum and Adam Driver star as Jimmy and Clyde Logan, one a down on his luck father looking to make his daughter happy and the other a one handed bartender. After another unlucky incident (“luck” is a big theme in the movie), Jimmy thinks it’s time to rob a bank. Only he doesn’t land on a public bank but a NASCAR run cash depository. The plan is small and only has a few hands in the pot (Daniel Craig’s Joe Bang and his brothers Sam and Fish – played by Brian Gleeson and Jack Quaid – join the team. As does sister Logan Mellie who is portrayed by Riley Keough). With a multitude of story layers, Logan Lucky manages to keep the audience entertained throughout.

The writing comes from an unknown woman named Rebecca Blunt (though, few theorize the writer is Soderbergh’s wife, Jules Asner, or the director himself). It’s good and the acting helps nail the down-home nature of the characters. The story is full of the appropriate twists that come with heist flicks. But the characters are prepared for such events, nailing the anomalies as “shit happens.” There is never a point where anyone gives up or any section of the movie falters. Blunt (I guess) really thought of everything.

Acting is another impressive feat. Craig especially stands out with his full tilt into country boy weirdo. His blond hair, leering stares at Mellie, and thick accent are phenomenal. Tatum and Driver are just as good with their defining personalities. Jimmy is level headed in every situation including tense moments with his ex wife, Bobbie Jo (Katie Holmes). Clyde is constantly pushed to the edge mentally but never jumps. The only stick in the mud is Seth MacFarlane’s brash Max Chilbain who eventually plays a decisive role. He’s too relentlessly cocky to matter for a majority of the movie. His final moments could’ve gone to anybody. It’s a shame.

Should you watch Logan Lucky?

It’s one of summer’s best films. What a breath of fresh air. Logan Lucky is the novel feature theaters need.

Notes

  • I beg you to listen to NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour where Linda Holmes and her crew discuss the movie.
  • Don’t read anything about this movie before seeing it. Logan Lucky is too charming for you to ruin it for yourself.
  • It’s a shame this gem won’t be recognized at the Oscars. It’ll definitely get some Globes and critic awards though.
  • There are several reveals of NASCAR drivers that I’m sure NASCAR fans had fun with. I’ll assume it’s like how I felt during The House. “Lennon Parham? Andrea Savage? Rory Scovel? Randall Park? Et al? Yes please!”
  • I’m going to admit I got lost in the end. But it’s still a good ending.