Logan Lucky – Movie Review

The three movies that make up the Ocean’s Trilogy are some of my favorite films.  I love the slick heists, the lingo, the twists and turns those movies provide. So when I heard that director Steven Soderbergh was going to do another heist film, I was incredibly excited.  Then we got the trailer for Logan Lucky and my excitement only grew.  An A-List cast under the direction of Soderbergh in what looked like a great stylized heist film?  Count me in, all the way in. Tonight, I had the distinct pleasure of catching a preview showing of Logan Lucky and while it isn’t quite a fourth Ocean’s movie, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

We have to start out with the cast because it is astounding.  Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes, Hillary Swank, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Katherine Waterston, Dwight Yoakam, and Sebastian Stan.  Hot damn that reads like a guest list at the Oscars. Everyone gives a solid to amazing performance with Tatum, Driver, and Craig being the standouts for me.  Driver and Tatum are fantastic as the Logan brothers with Driver being wonderfully understated and Tatum bringing a grounded realism to his character.  Daniel Craig though, that man looked like he was having a blast on this film. He brings an energy and quirkiness to his character that is unlike anything I have seen Craig do before and it is close to phenomenal.  The only members of the cast that I wasn’t especially high on are Seth MacFarlane and Hillary Swank.  For MacFarlane, it’s just hard for me to take him seriously as an actor after his many years doing voice work for Family Guy and his live action movies have just never grabbed me.  That’s all me personally so take that with a grain of salt.  And for Hillary Swank, the accent she speaks with and the way she speaks doesn’t quite measure up to the rest of the cast.  I also think she didn’t get enough screen time to develop into more than a one note character which could have hampered what time we did get with her.

I think where most people will find fault with this movie, is in it’s story and pacing.  I will readily admit that the pacing was rather slow, almost dragging at points, but that ultimately didn’t bother me.  As for the story, the plot of Logan Lucky is pretty loose and meanders a bit.  It’s no where near as tightly told as Soderbergh’s previous heist films but I think a lot of that has to do with the setting.  The Ocean’s Trilogy of course takes place in Vegas, two of the thre anyway, and the better 2 in my opinion. That setting lends itself to a slicker film with much faster story telling whereas Logan Lucky takes place in North Carolina and Virginia which lends itself to a much slower pace in line with the way of life in that area.  Even Sodoerbergh himself has said that Logan Lucky is “anti-glam version of an Ocean’s movie” with all the glitz and technology stripped away.

I think that this film will resonate more with cine-philes than it will with general audiences.  To me, it feels like this film was used as a framework to showcase the incredible talent and range of some amazing actors rather than tell a tight and compelling story.  I think that nuance might get lost on some moviegoers who come into Logan Lucky expecting something more in line with an Ocean’s Eleven rather than something with a much slower pace and feel to it. I know that might come across as slightly elitist but I don’t mean it in that context, I simply want to make sure that people know what they’re getting into and don’t come out disappointed because they expected something else.

I really enjoyed Logan Lucky. It is very much not Ocean’s Fourteen but I am very much ok with that.  I liked being able to sit back and enjoy two hours of some great acting by actors playing against their type with a few laughs along the way.

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