Subscribe
MaxSpace

Review: Logan Lucky

Heist film set during a NASCAR race is a total gas.

By Max Weiss | August 18, 2017, 5:17 pm

-Bleecker Street
MaxSpace

Review: Logan Lucky

Heist film set during a NASCAR race is a total gas.

By Max Weiss | August 18, 2017, 5:17 pm

-Bleecker Street

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

Sometimes you watch a film where it’s clear that the talent, both in front of and behind the camera, had an absolute gas making it, and you wish you could join in on the fun. Not so with Logan Lucky. Yes, it’s clear that Steve Soderbergh and his note-perfect cast—including Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, and a priceless Daniel Craig—are having the time of their lives, but we’re right there with them. I’m not sure if I preferred Logan Lucky as a comedy or a heist film. But who cares when both parts work so harmoniously?

Tatum plays Jimmy Logan, who’s just been laid off from his job working  construction under the West Virginia Motor Speedway because of a preexisting sports injury (Jimmy once had a promising football career until he blew out his knee). Meanwhile, Jimmy’s bartender kid brother, Clyde (Driver), had his arm—actually, his hand and forearm, he’s always quick to correct—blown off in Iraq. There’s a family lore that the Logans—who also include a sister, hairstylist/grease monkey Mellie (Keough)—are just plain unlucky. But that doesn’t stop Jimmy from planning an elaborate and risky heist.


⇓ Article continues below ⇓

A few more things you need to know about Jimmy: He’s divorced and his ex wife (Katie Holmes) has married a rich guy with a car dealership. Jimmy has young daughter (wide-eyed Farrah Mackenzie, a pint-sized Goldie Hawn), who can casually distinguish between a flathead and Phillips screwdriver, but also participates in those Little Girl Beauty pageants, much to Jimmy’s dismay. Jimmy dotes on his daughter, loves his siblings, and even (mostly) gets along with his ex. He just needs to catch a break.

The planned heist is a complicated one—and, as with all good heist films, its layers continue to reveal themselves right until the final frames. Basically, from his days under the speedway, Jimmy knows that money is transported through underground shoots into a giant vault. The plan is to intercept the money, but to do that they’re going to need explosives expert Joe Bang (Craig), who is rather inconveniently in prison. To make the whole thing work, Clyde’s going to have to get himself imprisoned, then break Joe out of jail and get them both back before anyone notices they were gone. I won’t ruin any more of the fun, but suffice it to say, part of the plan results in a bunch of inmates hilariously grousing about how slowly George R.R. Martin has been churning the Game of Thrones books. They are us.

I can’t stress enough how brilliant Craig is as Joe. He manages to be both intimidating and courtly, a gentleman thug, and just watching him meticulously shake low-sodium salt on a boiled egg is a thing of a beauty. He should do more comedy.

Indeed, the whole cast is superb, except for a weird, broad, costume-and-accent-reliant performance by Seth MacFarlane, as a sports drink mogul who has a run-in with the brothers. He seems to have been imported in from a completely different movie. A minor quibble.

Of course, much credit should go to Rebecca Blunt’s twisty and turny script, but this is a Soderbergh film though and through (there's even a meta reference to Ocean's Eleven). On top of being hilarious and edge-of-your-seat exciting, it has obvious affection for its cast of sneaky-smart hillbillies. Remember how panicked we all were when Soderbergh said he was retiring a few years back? Thank the film gods, there’s always one last heist.




Meet The Author
Max Weiss is the managing editor of Baltimore and a film and pop culture critic.

You May Also Like


MaxSpace

Review: The Post

Streep and Hanks, together at last!

MaxSpace

Review: Wonder Wheel

Woody Allen pays homage to the great American plays of the 1950s.

MaxSpace

Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Tragicomedy has some jarring tonal shifts, but at least gives us a Frances McDormand performance for the ages.


Arts District

Human Being Studios Opens in Bolton Hill

The new studio will be a community hub for local videographers and photographers.

MaxSpace

Review: The Shape of Water

I couldn't quite get past the ick factor of this otherwise diverting fairytale.

Arts District

Blind Balloon Artist HongSeok Goh Shows Off Massive Work at AVAM

South Korea artist creates one-of-a-kind installation at the American Visionary Art Museum.

Connect With Us

Most Read


BMA’s New African Art Exhibit Explores Humans’ Relationship With Birds: The earthy, exotic exhibit Beyond Flight is on display through June 17.

Tips to Stay Safe, Warm, and Energy Efficient This Winter: From home hacks to pet care, here are ways to keep warm.

Atlas Restaurant Group to Open Pizza Joint in Former Bagby Space: The ’80s-themed Italian Disco will combine mozzarella with music.

The Rowhouse Grille Hosts LLS Fundraiser Honoring Alex Wroblewski: The 41-year-old Locust Point resident was fatally shot outside of Royal Farms in November.

Baltimore is No. 15 on New York Times List of Places to Visit in 2018: Citing cultural and historical events, the newspaper puts our city in some great company.