'Logan Lucky' review: A heist with a lot of heart
There is a scene in Logan Lucky that could have easily reduced Steven Soderbergh's oddball heist flick into something that is needlessly contrived.
Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) just got to the auditorium in time for the song number of Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie), his young daughter. Seeing her dad in the audience, Sadie, who planned to sing Rihanna's "Umbrella", took the microphone and made a short spiel about her dad's favorite song which she has decided to perform instead of the famous pop song. She then starts to sing John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" without any accompaniment. The audience starts singing with her.
In any other movie, that scene could have proven to be a mawkish attempt to tug at the heartstrings of the audience but Soderbergh ingeniously places the scene at that right moment when all the emotions that it tries to provoke are earned.
At that point in the film, Jimmy Logan has just pulled off a heist of astounding complexity. But more than just proving himself to be the unassuming mastermind, he has also exposed in the quirkiest manner the soul of West Virginia. This specific robbery, unlike the ones accomplished by George Clooney and his tuxedoed pals in Soderbergh's remake of Ocean's Eleven (2001) and its many sequels, is fueled not by the lure of great wealth but by other more worthwhile things, of needs that strike at the heart of a land that has been both exploited and marginalized by America's capitalist ideals.
Jimmy has just been laid off because of a limp which his employer says messes up his insurance status. Clyde (Adam Driver), his brother who lost an arm in Iraq, is in it because he trusts Jimmy and his out-of-this-world plan. Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), the bomb expert the Logan siblings need to spirit out of jail, simply wants a comfortable retirement.
Heartfelt gestures and rightful heroes
So when the entire auditorium starts to sing the John Denver classic, it wasn't just shallow emotional manipulation. It was more a heartfelt gesture of solidarity, an expression of homegrown values trumping empty luster.
Soderbergh has already directed 3 heist films, all of which were slick, precise, and extravagant. Logan Lucky didn't need to be an Ocean's Eleven clone at a much smaller scale. It needed to be something more, a film that converts the blatant but cool avarice that drives the genre to mean something more especially in this age where America's greed has started to churn out its grave repercussions.
The film cleverly turns hicks and simpletons into rightful heroes, whose arguably spectacular but arguably harmless act of criminality against the heartless rich is transformed into an opportunity for generosity, an avenue to bring out latent virtues that are still deep in the hearts of America's working class and other folks existing in the margins.
Geniuses out of underdogs
Logan Lucky is such a spirited film.
It thoroughly entertains, blending humor and wit with all the familiar tropes of the genre. More importantly, it subverts, inventively making geniuses out of resolute underdogs, carving modern-day Robin Hood-like champions out of what America has unjustly disregarded as dregs and losers. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' 'Tirad Pass.' Since then, he's been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.