Logan Lucky

© Fingerprint Releasing | Bleecker Street

Daniel Craig stars as Joe Bang in Steven Soderbergh’s LOGAN LUCKY, a Fingerprint Releasing and Bleecker Street release. Photo: Claudette Barius / Fingerprint Releasing | Bleecker Street

Rising from the earth like some howling, primeval monster, John Goodman remains a defining cinematic memory of my youth.  The bizarre yet hilarious visual was perfectly emblematic of its source: the Coen brothers’ criminally underrated RAISING ARIZONA, a hapless-Southern-couple-as-well-meaning-kidnappers caper film starring Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter.  Steven Soderbergh’s LOGAN LUCKY gifts us with similarly quirky and empathetic criminals who inhabit a Southern cultural microcosm so well-meaning and authentic, one is hesitant to leave.

Working stiff Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) falls prey to bureaucratic red tape and is suddenly left without any means of income with which to support his beloved daughter, Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie).  Sadie is a cheerful and complex little girl, who loves to help her pa fix his car while she isn’t competing in little miss beauty pageants.  Mellie Logan (Riley Keough), Jimmy’s whip-smart kid sister, provides maternal care for Sadie when she isn’t in the custody of her biological mother, a pristine yet detached Katie Holmes.

The Logan clan’s resident pessimist is Clyde (Adam Driver), is a truck stop watering hole bartender and amputee veteran.  He attributes his questionable luck to the Logan Family Curse, which has dogged their lineage through multiple generations.  After an invigorating knock-down fight with a customer who insults his prosthetic, Clyde is convinced by his brother Jimmy to throw caution into the wind and force lady luck to finally acknowledge them.

Their hare-brained, and almost Rube Goldbergian, scheme hinges on the complex, subterranean maze of cash-delivery tubes beneath the NASCAR race track.  From hastily assembled cardboard mockups to a staged prison riot, their plans fall – no, collapse – into place against all odds and reason.  It seems for this one heist they’ve been blessed with the Reverse Logan Curse, perhaps due to the influence of Joe Bang.  A dandy convict played with contagious glee by Daniel Craig, they enlist Bang for—wait for it—his  explosives expertise.

LOGAN LUCKY is a delight, peppered throughout with clever set-ups and pay-offs beset only by an over-abundance of characters.  Some (like Sebastian Stan’s type-A health nut NASCAR driver, or Katherine Waterston’s kind-hearted mobile clinic physician) appear in scarcely more than a single scene.  We are left wanting to know more about them.  There Soderbergh showcases his expertise; he gives us just enough to satiate, plus just a little extra to keep us salivating.