|as Steven Soderbergh's return from his so-called big-screen retirement, with a slight but entertaining enough heist
|Adam Driver, Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig, Alex Ross, Brian Gleeson, Carl Edwards, David Denman, Dwight Yoakam, Farrah Mackenzie, Hilary Swank, Jack Quaid, Jim O'Heir, Katherine Waterston, Katie Holmes, Kyle Busch, Macon Blair, Riley Keough, Sebastian Stan, Seth MacFarlane, Tom Archdeacon
|25th August 2017
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The Logan family has long felt itself to be victim to a curse.
Jimmy (Channing Tatum) loses his job as a construction worker, digging a tunnel network under a motor racing track. His wife (Katie Holmes) has long since left him for a wealthy car dealer and makes it difficult for him to see their daughter. His bartender brother Clyde (Adam Driver) lost an arm in Iraq. Only their hairdresser sister Mellie (Riley Keough) seems to have her head screwed on straight.
Jimmy’s time working underneath the racing track has given him an idea for the perfect heist – to get back at those who’ve wronged him and give him the step-up he feels he deserves.
He knows where the track keeps its race-day takings – and he knows his way around the tunnels to get the money out.
They only thing he doesn’t know is how to blow open the vault.
And there’s only one person who does know – but Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), as he’s known, is five months from the end of a jail term for a previous heist. But Jimmy and Clyde aren’t going to let that stop them…
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Many people will remember how Steven Soderbergh announced his retirement from film-making – and then went straight on to make Behind the Candelabra – explained by the fact that in the US, it went straight to TV. No wriggle-room this time, as he’s boldly burst back out of retirement with a breezy comic crime caper.
It’s the kind of loveable low-life comedy that we’re pretty familiar with; seeing down-on-their-luck rednecks plotting a heist is nothing new. Oddly, there’s a sense in which this one is a little morally corrupt, without a motive that will persuade most viewers to side with the criminals – although there’s a neat side-plot involving some co-conspirators which at least acknowledges this.
There is an antagonist – Seth MacFarlane’s supposedly British NASCAR team boss – but he’s not the target of the heist, which also makes the plot seem a little uneven.
Daniel Craig is fun, with his southern drawl and stripey prison attire – perhaps the most fun in the film. Unusually for Soderbergh, the rest of the characters don’t have much going for them. Apart from the opening scene, Tatum is necessarily somewhat morose and Driver never even cracks a smile. Why would he, with his life? But that doesn’t make for characters you particularly want to spend time with or root for.
But the heist choreography is neatly handled and it unfold at a brisk pace. A twisty third act keeps you on your toes, but isn’t entirely convincing.
When you review Soderbergh’s back catalogue – with some remarkable works, from Sex, Lies and Videotape and Out of Sight to Erin Brockovich and the more recent Contagion or Magic Mike, it’s a bit odd that he chose to come out of retirement for such a mediocre project.
It’s entertaining enough, but a little underwhelming; we’ve seen it all done before – and better – even by Soderbergh himself; few directors have done comedy heist better than his own Ocean’s franchise.
Perhaps he’s being judged more harshly than another director would be, but since Logan Lucky wasn’t a one-off, let’s hope that after easing himself back into the director’s chair, his upcoming efforts will be closer to his more thought-provoking pre-retirement films in terms of being characters and originality.