With the release of Logan Lucky, director Steven Soderbergh is back in a big way with a very funny heist caper.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh from a screenplay by first-time screenwriter Rebecca Blunt, the heist film stars Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Dwight Yoakam, Sebastian Stan, Brian Gleeson, Jack Quaid, with Hilary Swank, and Daniel Craig.
Logan Lucky was produced as a test to see if indie filmmakers can succeed with commercial movies and retain full creative control outside of the studio system. It remains to be determined but the results should start to flow in over the next few weeks.
The film starts out as divorced West Virginia coal miner Jimmy Logan (Tatum) is fixing a car with his daughter, Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie). Jimmy shares custody with his ex-wife Bobbie Jo Chapman (Holmes).
finds himself unemployed when he’s fired by Cal (Jim O’Heir) due to being a liability. He comes up with the crazy idea to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway while a NASCAR race is going on. His has to convince his one-armed brother Clyde (Driver) and his hairdresser sister Mellie (Keough) to join in on the fun. Mellie is obsessed with cars and Keough learned to drive stick for the film. Without their help, there wouldn’t be a movie. Well, I suppose that there could but it wouldn’t be anywhere near as exciting.
When Jimmy goes to visit his brother Clyde, an Iraq War veteran, at the bar, they have a run in with race-team owner Max Chilblain (MacFarlane). MacFarlane is unrecognizable in the role and the character is a bit on the egotistical side. We find out closer to race time that Chilblain employs Dayton White (Stan), a super health-concious NASCAR driver, so this isn’t his only appearance in the film.
To pull off the robbery, the Logans need to bring in Joe Bang (Craig, with bleached hair), a demolition expert. While Daniel Craig isn’t as unrecognizable in the role as Seth MacFarlane, he bleached his own hair. But Bang has a problem of his own. He is sitting in jail so they have to devise a plan to not only rob the speedway but break him out of jail and sneak him back in without Warden Burns (Yoakam) even noticing his gone. Bang has them bring in his born-again younger brothers Fish (Quaid) and Sam (Gleeson).
In order to pull off the heist on the day of the Coca-Cola 600, they need to be able to break into the underground pneumatic tube system without anyone noticing what’s going on.
FBI agent Sarah Grayson (Swank) comes into the picture to investigate the crime and asking anyone who was involved because she wants to get to the bottom of it. This is where it’s really important to make sure stories are corroborated.
There’s a lot of unexpected twists in Logan Lucky and they’re fun. Even when you think you have it figured out, another twist gets thrown in for good measure.
“I was initially asked to help find a director for the script but I was very excited by what I read,” says Soderbergh. “After a couple of weeks, I admitted that I really didn’t want anybody else to direct Logan Lucky because I saw the movie very clearly from what was on the page. It’s kind of a cousin to an Ocean’s film, but it’s also an inversion of those movies because these characters have no money and no technology. They live in very pressured economic circumstances, so a couple of garbage bags full of cash can turn their lives around.”
Given the NASCAR theme of the film, there are a number of drivers who make cameos in the movie: Ryan Blaney as a delivery man, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are Charlotte Motor Speedway security guards, Carl Edwards is a West Virginia state trooper, Kyle Busch is a highway patrolman, and Kyle Larson plays a limo driver. Singer LeAnn Rimes was on hand to sing “America the Beautiful” before the race.
Fingerprint Releasing and Bleecker Street will open Logan Lucky on August 18, 2017.