It's difficult to understand why some directors would talk themselves into a corner. A few years back Steven Soderbergh was adamant that he was retiring. So much so that he made the announcement, more than once, to the world's press.
He's not the only one; for instance, Quentin Tarantino also stated that once his film count reached ten, he was calling it a day. And then there's Uwe Boll, the man behind several appalling films based on video games, he decided to retire due to the poor sales in the DVD and Blu-ray markets. In his case, we're hoping he keeps his word.
But Soderbergh hasn't, thankfully, as he got behind the camera once again for this crime heist.
Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) so nearly had it all; he had a promising career lined up in the lucrative sport of American football, but sadly a sporting injury put a swift end to that. He was getting his life back together working a construction job, until HR realised he had a limp and was carrying an injury which made him a liability, so he was let go.
On top of this, his former wife Bobbie (Katie Holmes) informs him that she's moving across the state line - with their daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie) - so regular visits were going to be more difficult.
With what now seemed like the whole world against him, Jimmy decides to kick back, and plans an audacious robbery at the home of NASCAR racing, the Charlotte Motor Speedway, which just so happened to be his place of work he was recently fired from.
So with inside information, he needs to put a crew together, which includes his brother Clyde (Adam Driver), a bar tender with one hand missing, thanks to taking part in the Iraq War.
The other member of the team required for the job is safecracker Joe Bang (Daniel Craig); there's a slight hiccup where his contribution is concerned however, as he's currently in prison serving time. Despite this hurdle, Jimmy is undeterred as he reckons he can not only bust Bang out but also walk away with the takings from the race track. But is lady luck finally on his side?
Soderbergh is no stranger to the heist flick; he has, after all, helmed the Ocean's Eleven franchise, but this is a slightly different beast.
It still has some big names attached, with Tatum hooking up once again with his Magic Mike director, and Craig letting down his hair from his 007 duties, but this heist film is stripped of all the gloss that came with his earlier Ocean's Eleven films.
Part of the reason for this comes purely from its location of North Carolina. Folk appear to be more down to earth here, the type who would call a spade exactly that. This earthy charm also carries over to the look and feel of the film. There are no flashy special effects or polished stand out scenes. Instead, Soderbergh almost adopts a Coen Brothers approach to filmmaking, where less is more.
That's not to say it's a simple film, it's plot still insists that you pay attention and keep up with proceedings to get the utmost from it - the film's pay out if you will.
There are some swell performances too, albeit Tatum's is slightly on the wooden side, but then he's not the most versatile of actors.
The plot however (written supposedly by Rebecca Blunt, which may or may not be a pseudonym for someone else) takes a risk of its own by being crossing over that line of believability one too many times, which is a few more than you would expect from a low-key, down to earth project like this one.
Still, it's good to see Soderbergh back behind the camera where he belongs. Anything he's involved in is always worth a look, including this effort, so we should count ourselves lucky that he's back.