Monday, 1 October 2018

Lucky: DVD Review

Lucky: DVD Review

There's no denying the poignancy thrust deep upon Lucky, by first time director John Caroll Lynch, and with Harry Dean Stanton as the lead.

With Stanton leaving us last year, the tale of Lucky, and his impending mortality is more than touching - it's lent a kind of moving tribute that seems woefully unprepared for its effect on audiences.

Lucky: NZIFF Review

Stanton plays Lucky, a former Naval officer, who lives a day-to-day existence in an Arizona town, negotiating the banalities of life with the grace that comes from the end of your life. Ambling from one moment to the next - be it a series of yoga moves in the morning, a visit to the local diner for coffee and the crossword or the bar to see friends, Lucky does little except survive - and he's content with his lot.

But one day, after collapsing for no real reason, other than the town doctor telling him he's old, Lucky's routine is shattered by the impending sense of mortality.

Lucky is the kind of film where nothing happens, but everything matters.

From the central character's rugged face, worn down by a life that's been mixed and blessed to a truly wondrous speech inside a bar that's as bittersweet as it is joyous, there's a certain mournful tone that overtakes this film and shakes your core. A resonant rumination wrapped up in an enigmatic intriguing tone.

But it's also one of immense joy as well - an appreciation of Harry Dean Stanton's work, his character so imbued with both sadness and fear of what's next - you simply couldn't have picked anything better for his final film.

However, Carroll Lynch's camera settles into the lyrical poetic moments here, but also captures what are at times, little more than moving photographs, vistas of the deserted mountains, a tortoise ambling by - and he wraps it all up in a script that's as wry as it is whimsically witty. Settle into the rhythms early on, and Lucky is deeply rewarding.

There's a lyricism at play here, a feeling of the motions of life lived and of death faced. And it's wondrous to behold. Poignant and powerful, a celebration of the human connection it may well be, but it's also about the unsaid bonds that bind us all.

At its heart though is Stanton. His delivery of just two words - "I'm scared" - carry more in the cinema and in life than could be believed; it's both heartbreaking and universal, a tacit admission of what comes next and what dogs us through our life. But at the same time, Stanton's insertion into this world of quirk and humanity proves to be deeply moving - and with a final shot that's as perfect as ever a send-off could be, Lucky proves to be a lyrical salute to both Stanton and life itself. 

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