By Andrew Jenck
Common misconceptions of film critics is that, in order for them to enjoy a film, it needs to have strong themes or exceeding amounts of depth; and that reviewers don’t relate like the casual moviegoer that they should be recommending films for. Well, if you look at the critical acclaim for the likes of Star Wars and The Avenger, that mindset is utterly false. Sure, I put more thought into a film than many of you, but a film can be expertly crafted while still being straight up fun. Logan Lucky is a prime example of that. As clichéd as it’s becoming to say it, it’s the most American film we’ve seen in years: a bunch of southerners attempting to pull off a heist of the Coca-Cola 600, with a bit of country music, little kids performing, fairs, and racing. Essentially, it’s almost the Tillamook County Fair on the big screen.
Ocean’s Eleven Director Steven Soderbergh, has crafted an engaging Middle American setting that’s engrossing, hilarious, and occasionally heartfelt, making it one of the most genuine films I’ve seen this year. It’s a story of a recently laid-off man stealing money to keep seeing his daughter is straightforward, fleshing out the characters more through their interactions with each other and with expertly delivered lines. This is the type of film that needs a natural feel and environment to fully work, which Logan Lucky offers in spades. Almost all the lines feel natural and reserved with the best type of humor: dry and subtle.
The cast is full of big name stars, each of which delivers their A-game. Channing Tatum and Kylo R—I mean Adam Driver—portray such a natural brotherhood as two men physically and thus mentally dealing with life’s shortcomings, a theme throughout this film. Their dialogue and interactions are so well-done to the point where you will believe these men are brothers. Brian Gleeson and Jack Quaid somehow turn seemingly stereotypical hillbillies into endearing, hilarious characters. Heck, Seth McFarlane even gets some laughs. However, the unquestionable standout, as stated by anyone who’s seen this film, is Daniel Craig as Joe Bang. The fact that this James Bond actor transcends into such a colorful, outlandish thief is really something to behold, delivering plenty of humor with such charisma and energy. He takes what could’ve been an over-the-top cartoon or grizzled character and makes him one of the best original movie characters in years.
The preparation of, and the heist itself, are where Soderberg really shines. You know what and how everything is happening through visuals which convinces you that these blue-collar workers can pull off such a feat. It doesn’t feel like he’s showing off a vision but rather keeps his shots grounded in reality for you to buy into this setting and concept. Because of this, you become invested in the father-daughter relationship; something that’s could be cliché and corny but is effective in the film’s context.
It’s a near miracle that Logan Lucky turned out the way it did, considering the political climate. This could’ve just pandered to certain supporters that make you lose faith in humanity or been a jab to Southern culture as a whole. Instead, it’s a movie that can be enjoyed by everyone; it has plenty of memorable moments, well-written quips, a great cast, and strikes the right balance of patriotism. I always feel that we should support smaller films that don’t get as much studio backing, and I’m very pleased to make a recommendation for this one. It’s one that I look forward to revisiting and will most likely be one of the best films of 2017.