Before I say anything about Logan Lucky, I feel like I should disclose my very strong preexisting bias: I am a Steven Soderbergh fanboy. I’ve seen all 28 of the director’s feature films, and a handful of his television shows, and I think he’s one of the most consistently interesting and entertaining directors of the last 30 years.
Having said that, I’ll also say, in the most objective way possible, that Logan Lucky, Soderbergh’s new heist-comedy, is a delight. Channing Tatum is Jimmy Logan, recently laid off from his construction job, who cracks a scheme to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina, enlisting the help of his brother, a one-armed bartender played by Adam Driver, an explosives expert named Joe Bang, played by Daniel Craig, his own sister, and Joe Bang’s two brothers. This is very, very far from a group of criminal masterminds, but Jimmy’s strategy is intricate and mostly well planned, and, well, we wouldn’t have much of a movie if it had zero chance of succeeding.
Most of the fun of Logan Lucky, not surprisingly, is in watching these incredibly colorful characters try to pull off the heist, especially since we’re kept in the dark about much of what the plan really is, and we get to watch it unfold as they enact it. And yeah, almost the entire thing is completely preposterous and relies on extremely unlikely events and coincidences to succeed, but Soderbergh does such a good job of making us like the characters and keeping the momentum going that we don’t bother to question what’s going on, we just roll along for the ride.
Logan Lucky doesn’t crackle like some of Soderbergh’s previous heist films, notably the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy and 1998’s marvelous Out of Sight, but it does operate with the kind of low hum of an expertly crafted engine, moving us exactly where we need to go while letting us revel in anything that seems slightly too ridiculous in favor of just having fun. Soderbergh is a master operating with supreme confidence, not wasting a moment of his film and giving us a heck of a good time.