Film Review: Lucky

Directed by John Lynch Carroll and starring Harry Dean Stanton in his second and final leading role, Lucky feels like an ode to character actors.

Lucky is a Navy veteran and a man of routine. When he falls at home, he must face the fact that his health will decline. With the reassessment of his condition, Lucky must examine what he believes…

Written by Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja, Lucky is a character-driven comedy drama. The film focuses on the the title character, and how being faced with mortality makes him question life and its meaning. The film takes on extra poignancy with the recent passing of Harry Dean Stanton. Notwithstanding, the film would have been reflective in any case.

The film introduces viewers to Lucky as a character of rigid habits. This is established fairly swiftly, which also offers a glimpse into his personality. After his encounter with the doctor, the protagonist faces a type of existential dread which plays out with both humour and emotion.

Lucky is a well written character. He is the type of protagonist that is memorable; there is no sentimentality here. Instead, he is dry and to the point. A significant portion of the humour is derived from his unflinching delivery. The other characters in the film colour the protagonist’s world, providing a sounding board, a source of wisdom, or an antagonist.

Harry Dean Stanton is terrific in the title role, providing the droll delivery and deadpan expression he is known for. The film is also littered with character actors such as Tom Skerritt, Beth Grant, and Ron Livingston. David Lynch stands out in a minor role, providing both hearty laughs and genuine sentiment.

John Lynch Carroll has delivered a quiet picture that pulls no punches with its meditations on the essential questions. Lucky is highly amusing and will give pause for thought.

Lucky is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2017.