Logan Lucky: Exploitation or Class Critique?

Films set in Appalachia tend to depict conflicts between characters of differing economic classes, with audience identification frequently directed toward middle and upper classes. Often this class identification is part of a complex intersection, such as in Deliverance (1972, dir. John Boorman) and the Wrong Turn series (2003-14, dirs. Rob Schmidt, Joe Lynch, Declan O’Brien, and Valeri Milev), where urban and non-Appalachian characters are threatened by rural Appalachians. In other cases, as in The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (2009, dir. Julien Nitzberg), characters of differing economic classes share spatial origins. The heist film Logan Lucky (2017, dir. Steven Soderbergh) instead directs audience sympathies toward working class and unemployed characters. This paper will examine to what degree this redirection avoids exploitation and engages in class critique and will look at the film within the contexts of other films and TV shows set in Boone County, West Virginia, Soderbergh’s earlier heist films—Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Oceans Twelve (2004), and Oceans (2007)—and his previous Appalachian film, Bubble (2005).