By Andrew Cripe, Staff Writer
Famed director Steven Soderbergh has performed his greatest trick once again, making yet another film where Channing Tatum appears to be a good actor.
Soderbergh’s new film “Logan Lucky,” despite its occasional faults, is a surprising, charming quirky heist movie. The film also has a star studded and extremely likable cast which includes Adam Driver and the actor Soderbergh can take credit for saving the career of: Channing Tatum.
“Logan Lucky” is about Jimmy Logan (Tatum), a man who recently lost his construction job and needs money to stay afloat. He recruits his brother, Clyde (Driver), to help him pull off a robbery during a huge NASCAR race.
During their scheming, the audience is introduced to a memorable cast of characters, including their sister Mellie (Keough), a British racecar manager (Seth MacFarlane), and three brothers by the name of Bang that can help pull off the big steal, played by Jack Quaid, Brian Gleeson and Daniel Craig.
Soderbergh hasn’t made a feature film in four years. During that hiatus, he said he was finished making movies. So it’s a pleasant surprise that not only has he returned, but he hasn’t lost a step.
“Logan Lucky” is caught somewhere in between two styles: it features an always entertaining, eclectic roster of actors while still managing to be introspective and quiet. But the biggest success of “Logan Lucky,” and why Soderbergh’s return to form should be an attention-grabber, is that it is never boring.
Daniel Craig is the standout of the film. He looks like he has not had this much fun acting in his entire career. He finds the right note of absurdity to latch onto, making him charming and never overbearing. His character is someone you would find in an especially great Wes Anderson film.
The film is unfortunately clumsy in its exposition at points. Maybe having the characters go on random tangents about how they know each other was supposed to be part of the off-beat, detached humor that screenwriter Rebecca Blunt possibly intended, but it instead comes off as unnecessary and unimaginative. The speeches seem even more unnecessary when it becomes apparent that the quiet interactions between characters tell us everything we need to know about them much better than the dialogue does.
The moments of subtle storytelling are best told by Channing Tatum. Ever since Soderbergh took Tatum under his wing and proved that the guy can in fact act (see: 2012’s Magic Mike), Tatum has proven to be an incredibly subtle actor.
You can see disappointment, vulnerability, and fear all over his face when he’s dealing with conflict, but there’s also a perpetual dignity in how he carries himself. He is just naturally sympathetic; the viewer finds themselves rooting for him even before they know what exactly they’re rooting for him to do.
The movie really finds itself when the big heist kicks into gear. Everything from tone to the writing to the acting just clicks and finds its natural place. Despite some missteps, the film ultimately satisfies and Daniel Craig’s performance is a thing of beauty.