They even reference it themselves in the film – Logan Lucky is Ocean’s Eleven for rednecks. It even has the same director, Steven Soderbergh, though instead of the crème of the Hollywood A-List leading the helm, a concoction of a bunch of actors that should not be compatible form a fun, quirk and congruous little heist movie that reminds us that tight stories can be just as impactful, maybe even more so than their expensive franchise big brothers.
The setup is simple, and slow (almost painfully) we are introduced to the esoteric world of the Logan family, with Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Riley Keough the cohort trying to live like normal folk but struggling, having experience only in fighting wars and robbing banks – of which they feel the residual effects of both in everyday life. We learn of all their motivations and unfortunately, the catalyst for any progress on them is money.
After being fired from his job and at the point of desperation, also about to lose the privilege to visit his daughter, Jimmy (Tatum) shirks the supposed ‘curse’ that permeates through the Logan family and decides to pull one last job. Opportunity knocks and he decides to form his old crew comprised of his brother, sister and a maniac pyro currently behind bars played by Daniel Craig to rob cash from a prolific NASCAR race.
Guided by fine acting from the leads, a catchy soundtrack and an experienced director steering the ship, the whole movie is fun and doesn’t take itself seriously despite the darker threads subtly hinted. The storyline is unique in its execution of a plot we’ve seen many times before, but never in this sort of setting with these kinds of characters which makes the movie feel fresh and unpredictable.
If there’s one thing Soderbergh knows, its chirpy dialogue, weird characters and knowing how to manipulate audiences into a satisfying heist reveal sequence. The plot is quite sequential, we follow along as bystanders clued in to all facets of the job, so at the close when we realise we too have been foiled by deceptive writing and editing, it makes the ending that much sweeter – which is vital to a heist film, a rare genre that expects some form of audience manipulation.
It’s liberating to have a film treat you with even a tinge of respect when it comes to nuance and detail, letting us fill in blanks and even so, things to talk about on the drive home after. Logan Lucky has catharsis AND resonance, where most modern movies have neither.