Logan Lucky - This Ocean's 7/11 Movie Pretty Much Rocks
Dir: Steven Soderberegh
Starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Hilary Swank, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Dwight Yoakum, Sebastian Stan
A few years back, Steven Soderbergh very noisily retired from filmmaking – despite going on to direct two seasons of the excellent The Knick on cable. Whilst we are by no means surprised to find the man reversing that decision and back on the big screen, it is perhaps a touch unexpected to find the filmmaker returning not just with so slight a project, but one that echoes so much of his previous body of work – even he himself has termed it an “inbred cousin” to his not one, but three Oceans movies.
Which is not to say it isn’t fun. Eschewing the glamour and hi-tech of robbing Vegas, Soderbergh and his screenwriter “Rebecca Blunt” (who may well be Soderbergh himself, or his wife, but almost certainly doesn’t exist as “Rebecca Blunt”) relocate to West Virginia and the decidedly low rent attempts of the unlucky Logan brothers (Tatum and Driver) to rob the local Nascar speedway on race day. Both actors have fun with the Southern ham of their roles. But the one really enjoying himself here – stand out in a stand out cast – as a down home explosives expert (you won’t believe what you can do with Gummi Bears and bleach) is Daniel Craig, as the bleach blonde-maned and perfectly named Joe Bang. There are prison breaks – both out of and into – race track robberies, lost artificial limbs and convoluted plots upon convoluted plots. Indeed, the director employs the same technique here as he used in his Oceans – confusing his audience by only revealing so much along the way, then saving the full “explanation” of events for after the deed is done. Well, it if ain’t broke…
Which again is odd, for when the man retired he was pretty vocal about the fact that cinema was pretty much broke. So here he comes back to save it with what exactly? A film that not only heavily references himself, but almost seeks to either pastiche his own back catalogue or pay homage to it?
Perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into it. Logan Lucky is after all, a nicely entertaining caper, with some very decent turns from a very good cast.
And it’s nice to have the man back. Even if he’s more or less in the same groove he left in.
(And for those keeping score at home – third film of the year to feature a major John Denver-related plot point. Who in the zeitgeist saw that one coming?)
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