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A star vehicle that fulfills what it sets out to do in the first place! [+72%]
'Logan Lucky' is a film that almost never sheds its 'hilarious' tag (have a look at some of the crazy credits for instance - "introducing" Daniel Craig as Joe Bang - holds true in a funny way. This is the rawest version of him yet, playing an in-car-ce-ra-ted safecracker, a sharp contrast to his suave-looking 'James Bond' persona) - it's an exhilarating ride for the entirety of its duration - a great comeback (from retirement) piece for Steven Soderbergh, directing from a smooth-as-silk screenplay from 'mystery writer' Rebecca Blunt (rumored to be Soderbergh's wife).
A lot many viewers don't find Soderbergh films ('Contagion', 'Side Effects', 'Magic Mike' and the 'Ocean' series to name a few) to possess the conventional aspects of entertainment, yet they've all (or mostly) held their attention owing to his purposive film-making approach. He doesn't make ensemble-flicks just because he wants his posters to feature big names - there's always a strong screenplay and sensible craft backing their presence.
Soderbergh treads familiar territory in 'Logan Lucky' - it's an economical ode to his Oceans' (heist) films, set in West Virginia (the accent comes with it!). The film presents the hapless situation of Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) in a funny (but non-offensive) manner - he has been laid-off from his construction worker job at the Charlotte Motor Speedway because he apparently failed to disclose an injury he suffered during his once-promising football career. He shares an adorable bond with his little daughter Sadie - he teaches her the essence of John Denver songs ('Take Me Home, Country Roads' - a neat touch that makes a lot of sense subsequently). When Jimmy realizes that his child and ex-wife are moving soon to another city (rendering visits difficult and less likely to happen often), he, along with his amputee bartender-brother Clyde (a bad- ass Adam Driver) and hair-stylist/make-up artist sister Mellie (a sensuous Riley Keough) enlists the help of Joe Bang (and his brothers Sam and Fish - almost unrecognizable Brian Gleeson & Jack Quaid) to break into the Speedway's money-stashing system.
It is at this point that 'Logan Lucky' starts to appear like a bankrupt stepbrother to the Oceans' films - we have planning followed by execution. Craig's entry adds to the queerness - he consumes boiled eggs sprinkled with fake salt (laughed hard for that one - but we soon register the fact that even the slightest of touches attributed to characters add on to something bigger - for instance, watch out for how 'fake salt' plays a role in their heist later on). Not one scene amounts to filler in the film's run-time of 1h 56m, while the humor is unevenly sprinkled and pops up at the most improbable situations (there's a hilarious stretch where Joe expounds the chemical reaction involved in creating their 'explosive device, minutes before they set it off). Another favorite episode is the 'hostage situation' at the prison - George R.R Martin references apart from the jail-warden's "We don't" remarks, are bound to crack up even the toughest of nuts.
Riley Keough is the jaw-droppingly seductive equivalent of Eiza Gonzalez from 'Baby Driver' - only more resourceful and having a meatier role to play in the heist. Soderbergh's well-thought-out writing is supplemented by neat frames (captured and edited by himself under different aliases) and a pleasing soundtrack. Cameos from Hillary Swank, Macon Blair, Sebastian Stan, Seth MacFarlane and Katherine Waterston are subtly placed. The hillbilly accent (for once) comes across as a whiff of fresh air rather than a turn-off device.
Verdict: Surprise! Surprise! Soderbergh is back. And he's gonna be around for more.
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