The ultimate verdict: Logan Lucky achieves both everything and nothing you expect out of a modernized crime/comedy/western.
The story here focuses on Jimmy Logan, a recently divorced construction worker laid off due to his fractured leg. He enlightens his spirits, as well as our own, from his father-daughter bond right in the first frame as he repairs his car, when he tells her a story about his favorite country song. I admit these sweet moments were severely underdone, but not nearly as much as the activity of his gorgeous ex-wife, who creates zero memorability besides wearing a see-through top over a pink bra in front of her eight-year-old daughter. Matters instead revolve more about the men in the community, particularly the somewhat meaningful bond between Jimmy and his brother, a one-armed Iraqi veteran who can mix a martini one-handed.
Yet everything else about this part of the United States falls into stereotypes about the culture, right down to two rednecks competing in a toilet seat ring toss. Those two guys end up being probably the most memorable characters who create the most potential comedy; now I say potential because the “comedy” here just lazily paints authoritative figures as gullible doofuses, especially by the third act when it turns into an unresolved “Crime Scene Investigation” plot from the FBI’s perspective.
Despite the goal toward a crime/comedy, the gags’ staging missed their mark entirely—the timing of the editing never played against the audience’s expectations.
At least they do go a bit into intriguing detail about the robbery’s execution, down to a step-by-step process posted onto the refrigerator. It shows these fun little bits which make you think, “What on earth do they plan to do with those cockroaches coated in nail polish?” Then later you think, “Oh! Ha! Clever!” The details enlighten your attention, like how the number of times a plastic bag is twisted shut matters in making the contents explode.
Although the culture’s creation here does seem a smidgen off. I hadn’t lived there longer than three months, yet I know for certain that African Americans thrive elsewhere beyond the prisons. The fact that one of those crooks, played with a convincing accent by James Bond actor Daniel Craig, escapes jail to help others commit their robbery draws one common conclusion: the US’s most vibrant criminal culture thrives in the Southeast. While true in some regards, we deserve to see some light down there too.
Yes, the worldbuilding basically just got the job done well enough. The same goes to the acting—the best they achieve from their effort is simply sustaining your attention. Yet the smaller performances are really the more effective ones, as Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry, Million Dollar Baby) made the most out of her small part, playing an investigator with her expected authoritative enthusiasm. The director, Steven Soderbergh, (Erin Brockovich, Traffic) proved his strength at casting seventeen years after beating himself at the Oscars, you see each well-known actor only as the character they portray. However, the way Soderbergh organizes the moments of his story is distractingly wrong.
Soderbergh displays lots of detailed love for the East Coast’s racing culture, such as a fiery feud between a rude racer who insults the two disabled leads. It feels truer to the culture than what the financially successful Cars franchise attempted. But I think Soderbergh misunderstands something important: very few people, particularly outside the East Coast, care as much about NASCAR as he does, a distraction at best in the way he flaunts the commercialism.
The bits at the car race, in particular, abuse too many lingering shots on the fans and bumper stickers, like one big NASCAR commercial. They even blare the name of “Fox News” when showing the game’s commentators.
You could honestly tell this was screenwriter Rebecca Blunt’s first ever writing credit, no craft goes into sending out any kind of motivation to anyone besides the two brothers to achieve anything, which hurts the film all the more, particularly with its unresolved established family commitment. Nobody learns anything, they all just exist as catalysts towards material gain.
Even if you lived in the southeast, you will most possibly forget the name Logan Lucky the next day. You’d be better off watching a car race live or watching CSI Miami, both a far more rewarding social experience.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Logan Lucky. Bleecker Street Media. Web. <http://loganluckymovie.com/>.
“Logan Lucky.” Digital image. LetterBoxD. Web. <https://letterboxd.com/film/logan-lucky/>.