The BRWC Review: Lucky

The BRWC Review: Lucky

Celebrated actor Harry Dean Stanton’s final film is a dusty reflection on life, death and daytime TV.

The directorial debut of actor John Carroll Lynch (Fargo, Zodiac), Lucky follows a ninety-year-old navy veteran as he fills his days with yoga, gameshows and chain-smoking. After a fall at home, Lucky the loner is forced to confront his mortality and re-evaluate his existence.

Lucky might be as unhurried and uneventful as the titular character’s daily trudge to his local store, but there’s an hypnotic charm to the minutiae and repetition of his routine, and his wary yet warm exchanges with the local townsfolk.

The cast is fleshed out by David Lynch’s rambling barfly, Ed Begley Jr.’s no-nonsense doctor, and Ron Livingston’s southern-gent solicitor, while it’s up to Yvonne Huff’s diner waitress and Bertila Damas’ store owner to try to make Lucky feel included in the local community. The film also features a touching cameo from Stanton’s fellow Alien alum Tom Skerritt.

The film is deeply rooted in indie Americana, with long tracking shots of dusty highways and quiet scenes of introspection, and of course Johnny Cash croons as Lucky lies awake in bed. There are echoes of Wim Wenders’ iconic Paris, Texas, with Stanton donning a hat to silently cross desert roads, or in one particular scene, being sickly lit in green and red. It also leans heavily on some none-too-subtle metaphors, especially concerning Lynch’s runaway tortoise.

Yet this slow-burning character study revolving on a moving and amusing central performance, will linger with you like the smoke from Lucky’s cigarette butts. And if nothing else puts a smile on your face this year, the sight of Harry Dean Stanton singing a mariachi ballad at a children’s birthday party surely will.

A fitting and bittersweet finale for a cherished actor.

Lucky is out in UK cinemas from 14th September.

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