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dir Steven Soderbergh
scr Rebecca Blunt
prd Channing Tatum, Reid Carolin, Mark Johnson, Gregory Jacobs
with Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Sebastian Stan, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank, Jack Quaid, Brian Gleeson, Dwight Yoakam
release US 18.Aug.17, UK 25.Aug.17
A crazy plan: Craig, Tatum and Driver
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
There's an effortless quality to this breezy caper movie that's completely disarming, mainly because it follows a group of ridiculous losers as they execute a remarkably complex heist. At the centre of the story, director Steven Soderbergh focuses on a gang of characters who are very easy to underestimate. And their offhanded charm keeps the film feeling fresh.
In West Virginia, Jimmy Logan (Tatum) hopes to reverse the family curse. Sister Mellie (Keough) has so far escaped calamity, but Jimmy has a badly injured knee, while younger brother Clyde (Driver) lost an arm in Iraq. After losing his job, Jimmy proposes an elaborate robbery of the Nascar race track in Charlotte. They need the help of explosives expert Joe Bang (Craig), which is tricky since he's in prison. And Joe's gamer-nerd brothers (Quaid and Gleeson) come on board as well. But can this scruffy gang pull off such a big plan?
Blunt's script and Soderbergh's direction keep the audience one step behind everything that happens, revealing key information at the very last moment and holding the final reveal for a concluding flashback sequence. This means that we get to watch in a continual state of discovery, doubting that any of this will work, then surprised as each twist of the plot emerges. And every scene is played with a wry sense of humour that's simply hilarious.
Tatum, Driver and Keough anchor the film perfectly as the amusing, likeable and somewhat tetchy siblings, while Craig steals the show going way off-type as the lively, unpredictable Joe. All four deepen their roles with surprising moments of real emotion. Meanwhile, they are surrounded by a cast of colourful people including MacFarlane and Stan as bickering race drivers, Holmes as Jimmy's ex-wife, Waterston as a helpful medic, Swank as a tenacious FBI investigator and Yoakam as an insistent prison warden, to name just a few.
The film is so packed with wildly outrageous people and situations that there's little to do but just hang on for the ride. The subtext, about less fortunate people just trying to get their piece of the pie, is cleverly underplayed. And every scene is a riot of unexpected dialog and witty character detail. This adds a complexity to the people that lifts the film far above its essentially silly premise. And it's almost unnerving how easy it is to identify with these misfits and experience this adventure right along with them.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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