Starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Daniel Craig, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes, Dwight Yolkum, Hilary Swank, Katherine Waterston, Sebastian Stan,
Steven Soderbergh returns with “Oceans 7-Eleven”, putting old favorites and new faces into an original script by fictitious writer Rebecca Blunt (post film, you’ll point all fingers at Soderbergh). Regardless of who wrote it, it’s very clever, very charming and has all the things we love about Soderbergh’s work in an entirely new setting: The Redneck South. If the Carhart wearing, beer drinking, crumb catching goatee sporting bumpkins of West Virginia and North Carolina manage to understand Logan Lucky, they will love it. Tatum’s body is far removed from the rock-hard abs of the Magic Mike collaboration with Soderbergh (this is their fourth). It’s one of his most unrecognizable characters and best to date. Tatum’s redneck drawl is on point, while Driver’s never feels right. It’s an ensemble effort here as most great Soderbergh films are, but just seeing icons Yolkum and Swank together in a scene, is worth the price of admission.
Following his dismissal from a contract job repairing Charlotte Motor Speedway, the un-lucky Jimmy Logan (Tatum) concocts a brilliant plan to set him and his one-handed bartender brother Clyde (Driver) up for life. Of course, they will need the help of his white cowboy boot wearing, beautician of a sister, Mellie (Keough), who seems to have avoided the Logan family curse everyone snickers about. It will take more than family to pull of this intricate heist, they need the help of explosives mastermind Joe Bang (Craig) and his gummy bears. Jimmy isn’t a criminal, nor a bad person, he just wants to be a good father to a sweet little girl as she aims for the Little Miss West Virginia pageant.
Just seeing icons Yolkum and Swank together in a scene, is worth the price of admission.
The first half of the film, the setup, is a bit drawn out. I was nearly ready to write off the film, but then I remembered, that Soderbergh is the kind of writer the justifies the means in the end. Everything ties together quite splendidly, and I know for a fact, watching it a second time, you could connect all the dots you didn’t have. The casting is extraordinary, choosing actors in roles that defy certain stereotypes they have grown accustomed to; Darth Vadar with one hand, James Bond a supporting player (the poster even says, “and introducing Daniel Craig”), and comedian Seth MacFarlene in an unrecognizable disguise. Logan Lucky is most enjoyable when you pick up on Soderbergh’s inside jokes, including, but not limited to Appalachian residence disdain for Floridian’s, knocks to the filmmakers previous films, and a whole lot more.
While Katie Holmes inclusion here is another throwaway role and the least interesting female on screen, American Honey’s Keough is a scene-stealer. The moment two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank steps on screen (and its very late in the film), I admit I sat up in my chair a bit. She’s been absent from film almost as long as Soderbergh, making this quite the comeback vehicle. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, there is an entire scene mocking George R.R. Martin’s slow process, one of the movies most brilliant laughs that has entirely nothing to do with the plot. The music throughout the film is peculiar, but the entire movie is quiet. Logan Lucky is presented identically to Soderbergh’s Oceans trilogy plotting, where the audience is in the dark for most of the story. You can could use your energy trying to guess what these backwoods criminals are up to (most of it highly unpredictable), but it’s more fun to just enjoy the ride.
A Hee-Haw Heist of a good time.