Soderbergh may not be as big a household name as, say, his fellow Steven Mr. Spielberg, but amongst film lovers he’s one to look out for. He always has been. Loosing a talent such as his, no matter what the department, would be a major loss. Except he never really left. Throughout his four years of retirement, which many directors would consider an average gap between feature films, Soderbergh managed to keep one foot in the water. He not only edited the bombastic, endlessly fun Magic Mike XXL, but he directed every episode of The Knick. He never left, he’s just been reloading his talents, and now he’s back with a harmless reminder of why the world needs more Soderbergh.
These are characters that are larger than life and louder than the worst kind of neighbour you can think of, yet there’s likeability amongst all of them. They’re down on their luck and predominately left on their own in a world out to get them. None of them have all that many friends. They prefer the company of their own family, which there’s obviously nothing wrong with, and this allows for a stronger sense of bonding. You feel for them. You’re connected with them. They may not agree with everything each other says, but they go along with it because they’re family and to them, there’s nothing more important. Logan Lucky is the story of good characters doing the wrong thing for an admirable reason, even if a lot of their personal motives remain murky for most of the runtime.
Sadly, if you’ve seen the trailer, all of the film’s best moments have already been spoilt. This is, of course, no fault on the filmmaker’s behalf, but simply that of the marketing team. You loose part of the joy because you’ve already seen all the film’s best beats, save for one absolutely laugh-out-loud funny Game of Thrones joke that just never stops going and never needs to. There’s a cloud of mystery surrounding the film’s screenwriter, many unsure if the person is real or if it’s Soderbergh once again playing us all (he used a stage name when working as a cinematographer and editor for many, many years), but no matter what the case, they’ve crafted a fun and energetic screenplay that’s sweet, but just a little too long, lacking stakes, a bit familiar and a fairly bumpy ride.
Logan Lucky also seems to have an infatuation with its supporting cast, insisting on cutting back to them over and over. It’s a fair thing to do when the talent is as tremendous as this, featuring the likes of Hilary Swank, Seth McFarlane, Katherine Waterston, Katie Holmes and several others, but it also bogs the pace down to drastic degrees. Just when you think the film is over, you realise there’s an extra half an hour latched onto the end. Katherine Waterston’s character in particular felt staggeringly unnecessary. She appears in two scenes and neither felt needed, even if her performance is admirable. Soderbergh creates a lived in world, but it didn’t need to be as big and luxurious as he made it feel. What it really needed was a little more focus.
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