Critics' Pick

Logan Lucky (PG-13)

Comedy 119 min. August 18, 2017
By April Wolfe
In Steven Soderbergh's hillbilly heist comedy Logan Lucky, the West Virginia prison where vault specialist Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) resides is pristine and peaceful. While only a small part of this caper takes place in the prison, this setting is indicative of a tone Soderbergh excels at in his studio comedies; on the surface, these stories are unencumbered by deeper sociopolitical struggles. In a word: Fun!

In the first scenes, Soderbergh paints Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), a good ol' boy who gets fired from his excavation job at a NASCAR track because of his limp. It might've been easy for a filmmaker to exploit that setup for sympathy, showing us how unbearably difficult life is for this blue-collar guy in poverty-stricken America. Instead, Soderbergh's hero immediately hatches a 10-step plan for breaking into the track's underground cash vault. This plan is also scrawled on a note that Jimmy's bro Clyde (Adam Driver) discovers -- "I see you've got a robbery to-do list on the refrigerator."

From there, the plot gets twisty, as the bros hire Joe and his bros. There's a lot to explain, with regard to the setting and the mechanics of the caper, but Soderbergh rarely gets bogged down in details.

First-time screenwriter Rebecca Blunt (rumored to be Jules Asner, Soderbergh's wife) never complicates things past a Robin Hood framing. If Asner really did write this script, I can only imagine she and Soderbergh laughing in bed at the phrase "Ocean's 7-11," which gets uttered by a reporter describing the thieves. If Soderbergh's first Ocean's had a pitch-perfect ensemble cast, this down-home version matches up in every way.
Steven Soderbergh Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Hilary Swank, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes, Daniel Craig Rebecca Blunt Bleecker Street Films

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