The promotion for Steven Soderbergh’s newest movie Logan Lucky entices audiences to “come and see how the other half steals”. A heist movie at its heart, the film also has the difficult realities of life in middle-class America coursing through its veins. It’s light and fun and enjoyable, but it also doesn’t let its audience forget that its characters aren’t just trying to rob a NASCAR event for jollies, it’s trying to gain power over a system that pushes them to the side. Perhaps if Logan Lucky came out during Obama-era America, it would just be viewed as a fun, end of Summer good-time popcorn movie with major movie stars, which it essentially is. But in the age of Drumpf, there’s something sort of daring, and even difficult about seeing these characters (who almost certainly would have voted for Donald Drumpf) being the heroes of a major motion picture. How can we root for characters who would have supported our current Commander in Chief without feeling kind of gross about it? The movie doesn’t really offer much of answer in that way, nor does it necessarily need too.
This isn’t a meditative or gently thoughtful film about the “angry working class” we so often keep hearing about in the news lately. It’s a movie about a family trying to stay together and reclaim their humanity by pulling off a major heist, scamming their way through one of middle America’s favorite pastimes as a way of keeping themselves out of poverty. Perhaps that’s where the movie succeeds; it puts its characters in situations that are very relatable for all types of people in this country. For all of the action and elaborate heist scenes, it’s a movie about family, which anybody can relate to. It’s neither an endorsement or critique of its characters and the type of environments they populate, it simply presents them as they are, and there’s something quite noble in it. It’s also a hell of a good time.
The cast is dynamite, with Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and especially Daniel Craig having a blast playing against type as blue- collar criminals. Riley Keough continues to be one of the most exciting presences in movies of television, always able to convey so much even with so little. Cameos by Seth MacFarlane, Katherine Waterston, and Hilary Swank are sprinkled throughout the movie all of which make for great fun, which is exactly what Logan Lucky is. It’s not asking us to love these people, but it shows us that they are capable of great joy and depth, just like the rest of us.