BY RYAN MACKETT
ACADEMY Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh took home the Best Director Oscar for the film Traffic in 2000. He is a fairly eclectic director, whose work includes Out of Sight, Erin Brockovich, Contagion, Magic Mike, Solaris and Side Effects to name a few. He is also the director of the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy starring George Clooney, which was clearly the inspiration for Soderbergh’s latest film, Logan Lucky.
The film stars Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as two brothers who cook up a heist to rob the vault located at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on the day of a huge NASCAR race. I can’t quite remember why they decided to steal the money, to be honest, but that fact doesn’t take away from the film’s entertainment value. Soderbergh is definitely in his comfort zone with heist films. With Logan Lucky, the glamorous Vegas casinos and incredibly charismatic vault robbers are replaced with North Carolina and some rednecks. It would be a disservice to the film to simply label it a “redneck Ocean’s Eleven” even though that’s a fairly apt description.
The performances were terrific. Channing Tatum is at his absolute best in comedic performances, however his dramatic abilities were able to shine a few times here as well. Adam Driver was also great, and Daniel Craig as Joe Bang was hilarious and a far cry from his demure performances as James Bond. The rest of the cast included Seth MacFarlane, Hillary Swank, Katie Holmes, Riley Keough and David Denman.
While the film wasn’t anything new as far as plot is concerned, the idea of a heist film going after a NASCAR vault instead of a casino vault was fresh. The script, written by Rebecca Blunt was also pretty hilarious, and the performances all elevated the film. I was a little disappointed that the film wasn’t as visually striking as some of Soderbergh’s more recent work, but he did employ his trademark shallow depth of field trick a few times. Soderbergh is also a jack-of-all-trades; he not only directs his films, but he also acts as his own cinematographer and film editor.
I wouldn’t necessarily run out to the theatres to see this one, however considering the fact that the summer movie months are full to the brim with comic book movies and action flicks and other tentpole releases, Logan Lucky will likely serve as a welcome change of pace for moviegoers who are looking for a decent flick to catch at the show that isn’t a superhero origin story.
Ryan Mackett is an artist and film enthusiast who resides in Thunder Bay. Email questions or comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.