Logan Lucky (Soderbergh, 2017)

Not having seen Ocean’s Eleven or its sequels, I don’t have much of a basis to make comparisons here. I know this is a heist film and a comedy, and that’s as much as I have to judge. Whether it’s as good as (or better than) Soderbergh’s earlier endeavours, I don’t know. So what I can say about Logan Luckyis that it’s fine. The implied moral—that you can’t judge a man’s intellect from the place where he lives and the clothes on his back—is always flitting in the background, especially when the dominoes start to fall and the Logans’ elaborate plan begins to come together with an extraordinary amount of precision. You’d think, given the breezy tone, their scheme will fall by the wayside and turn events into one big farce, but no. With the exception of a few scenes (like when Clyde’s prosthetic arm is accidentally vacuumed up), very little goes wrong, and for once the criminals get their shit together and are able to pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

Weirdly, as much as I’m a fan of the heist portion of this, I’m less keen on the comedy. A lot of it is very superficial, like getting Seth MacFarlane to put on a fake mustache and speak in a crummy British regional accent, or having Hilary Swank make a ten-minute cameo as a grimacing detective out of a TV procedural. Quick and cheap laughs for some; for me, it’s more a waste of time. Sometimes the jokes do land, like the bit where the prisoners demand their warden to buy them two nonexistent George R.R. Martin books because they don’t know Game of Thrones the TV show has surpassed the chronology of the novels. Daniel Craig is also very good at hamming it up, so I didn’t mind seeing him make the most of his role. However, a lot of the time the humour wobbles off and leaves the rest of the proceedings feeling a little mannered in nature. And you can’t let this happen when your two leads are themselves in dress-up mode (especially Adam Driver, whose accent is so unnatural I kept wondering if he was even Soderbergh’s first choice).

The flavouring of this might kick in more when I do see the Ocean films. Apparently this is very similar, only exchanging men in suits for blue-collar workers. If I’m not big on them, then I’ll know this particular genre isn’t my cup of tea. If I am, maybe I’ll revisit this again and find more to appreciate. For now, it’s a decent comeback for Soderbergh, though not one that fires on all cylinders.