Logan Lucky Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh’s well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He’s back with this lively, relentlessly enjoyable caper that feels like a mash-up between his Ocean’s Eleven and Magic Mike movies. Using America’s economic situation as a launching point (without any political message), he spins a loose-limbed adventure with a gang of endearingly scruffy characters. If this is your cup of tea, it’s a proper guilty pleasure.

In West Virginia, the Logan family has had a string of very bad luck, leaving Jimmy (Channing Tatum) with a dodgy knee and his younger brother Clyde (Adam Driver) with a missing arm. Their sister Mellie (Riley Keough) has so far escaped injury, so Jimmy hatches a plan to change their fortunes by robbing the Charlotte Nascar race course, which he knows inside and out because he’s just been sacked from his job there. They need the help of explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), who’s in jail. So in addition to an elaborate heist, they must also plan a prison break. They also bring in Joe’s nerdy gamer brothers (Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson).

Frankly, all of these people are such misfits that no one would ever suspect them of being capable of carrying out such a complicated plan. And that’s the point: it’s easy to underestimate people who seem uneducated. This gives the cast plenty to play with. Tatum and particularly Driver are terrific at the centre, with their hang-dog expressions and understated skill sets. Keough gets to play the one person in the story with brains, and has a great time rampaging through each scene. But the movie is stolen by Craig, who goes wildly against type as the hilariously nutty Joe. In one classic scene, he barely contains his exasperation while explaining how to make a bomb out of gummy bears.

There are also a range of amusing side characters, including Seth Macfarlane and Sebastian Stan as bickering rival drivers, Katie Holmes as Jimmy’s frazzled ex, Katherine Waterston as a sexy medic, Hilary Swank as a tenacious FBI agent and Dwight Yoakam as an arrogant prison warden. In other words, the film is packed full of silliness, most of which is designed to distract us from crazy gyrations of the heist itself, which is explained at the end in a helpful montage. But that doesn’t really matter. It’s the crazy detail in the characters that makes this film so enjoyable. And the fact that it’s rather too easy to identify with these losers.

Watch the trailer for Logan Lucky: