Logan Lucky review – gleeful caper has Soderbergh screeching back to big screen

Steven Soderbergh comes out of retirement with a stylish, madcap heist movie buoyed by superbly droll performances from Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Daniel Craig

Steven Soderbergh gets his career and his groove back, thankfully terminating a retirement none of us believed in anyway. He returns with Logan Lucky, a terrifically stylish and laid-back heist comedy about robbing a Nascar racetrack in West Virginia. John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads serves as its anthem. It is written by mysterious first-timer Rebecca Blunt, who has yet to show up for interviews or media appearances.

The film is similar to Soderbergh’s great caper Ocean’s Eleven from 2001 and maybe also the Peter Sellers 1960 classic Two-Way Stretch. It’s funny, beguiling and smart, although it maybe doesn’t deliver the sugar rush of excitement achieved by Danny Ocean and his crew: sometimes the tempo is a little too like an unhurried, evenly paced country number when some bluegrass is in order.

But it’s very droll, acted with deadpan aplomb, and there is such casual brilliance to Soderbergh’s visual compositions. Channing Tatum and Adam Driver play the unlucky Logan brothers, Jimmy and Clyde. Jimmy just got unfairly fired from his construction job at the Nascar track – where he figured out how to steal the money from all the concession stands – and Clyde, who years before lost his hand serving in Iraq, tends a bar.

Set upon payback, Jimmy plans to rob his former employer: a job needing a ragtag crew including Clyde, his sister Mellie (Riley Keough) and also a legendary explosives genius currently in jail, Joe Bang, played by Daniel Craig with an American accent far better than the British accent of Don Cheadle, who played the explosives guy in Ocean’s. Seth MacFarlane makes a Mike Myers-esque turn as an obnoxious Brit race driver.

It’s always supremely watchable, but rarely, if ever, commits itself to genuine jeopardy or suspense. Instead of edge-of-the-seat moments, there are gags and clever touches and excellent performances.

Contributor

Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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