‘Logan Lucky’ reviews: Steven Soderbergh makes a comeback with Channing Tatum in ‘exuberant’ heist film

Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh announced in 2011 that he would retire from filmmaking, saying in a radio interview, “When you reach the point where you’re like, if I have to get into a van to do another scout I’m just going to shoot myself, it’s time to let somebody else who’s still excited about getting in the van, get the van.” It’s only been a four years since his last feature films saw the light of day — “Side Effects” and the Emmy winning HBO telefilm “Behind the Candelabra,” both in 2013 — and since then he has directed all 20 episodes of “The Knick” on Cinemax, so he never really seemed all that retired. It’s like he never got out of the van.

Nevertheless, his new film “Logan Lucky” is a comeback of sorts. It opened on August 18, and judging from the reviews the filmmaker hasn’t lost his touch. As of this writing it has a score of 78 on MetaCritic and 92% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a heist film with timely thematic elements about a pair of down-on-their-luck working class brothers from West Virginia (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver) who plot a robbery of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s one of Soderbergh’s “most exuberant pictures.” “You’re in confident hands” with the filmmaker, who demonstrates “characteristic smoothness” behind the camera.” And his star Tatum has proven himself to be a “great actor,” with the ability “to balance his effortless magnetism with unforced modesty.”

Will you be seeing “Logan Lucky” this weekend? Check out some of the reviews below, and let us know what you think of this film and more in our forums.

Stephanie Zacharek (Time): “Steven Soderbergh’s heist comedy ‘Logan Lucky’ — which stars Channing Tatum as a divorced West Virginia dad who, out of desperation, masterminds an elaborate robbery of North Carolina’s Charlotte Motor Speedway — is one of the director’s most exuberant pictures. It’s also one that doesn’t take the best impulses of humankind for granted.”

Alissa Wilkinson (Vox): “‘Entertainment’ gets a bad rap these days, as if it’s the degraded version of something more highbrow — ‘art,’ maybe. But if watching ‘Logan Lucky’ is being entertained, then hook me up to the IV and let it drip … The best part of ‘Logan Lucky’ is that from the get-go you know you’re in confident hands, and whatever’s about to happen, it’s going to be great.”

A.O. Scott (New York Times): “Since his early screen appearances (in ‘Step Up’ and ‘A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints’), it’s been evident that he is a singularly charismatic performer, but by now it should be clear that he’s also a great actor. I think his appeal has less to do with any supposed Everyman quality (though ever man can dream, of course) than with an uncanny ability … to balance his effortless magnetism with unforced modesty.”

Matt Zoller Seitz (RogerEbert.com): “Soderbergh directed the script (and edited and shot it under pseudonyms—a Soderbergh family tradition, it seems) with his characteristic smoothness, moving through the story so deftly that you don’t realize you’ve already gone from point A to point B until you’re already en route to point C. There’s no wasted motion. Everything happens as it does for a reason.”

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