Lucky is all about a man’s desire to make peace with his mortality. Its consistent allusions to and around the subject are more profound and intense than you could ever imagine. Harry Dean Stanton’s final film performance brings us a delightfully fitting farewell in a rare leading performance directed by John Carroll Lynch. A simplistic premise, a loose and free flowing storyline to follow suit, Lucky is more of an examination of what makes life so interesting rather than something that looks to bring closure to its unique characters.
Stanton plays the titular Lucky, a man that lives a solitary lifestyle and finds his body giving up on him ever so slowly. He takes himself to the doctor, and is told it is simply part of life; he’s at the age where the body begins to give up. With this in his mind, Lucky goes about his day to day life, meeting with the various strange individuals that litter the small Californian town he resides in. Howard (David Lynch) looks for his escapee turtle, while Paulie (James Darren) drinks at the bar he and his wife run. There’s a great deal of individual characters that provide some enjoyable moments the whole way through, but none are better than that of Harry Dean Stanton’s incredible leading performance.
Each character is so incredibly unique, they all have their own strange problems yet find the time to build upon the leading performance and the impact Stanton’s presence has. A first-time experience seeing Lynch act rather than direct, his performance is solid enough. It’s definitely easy to see why he stays behind the camera as his acting chops truly aren’t the best. His presence here though adds to the strange variety of the town within Lucky, almost fitting in because of his broken performance.
Possibly the biggest surprise of the piece is the great direction on the part of first-time director and actor John Carroll Lynch. Carroll Lynch gives us some inventive scenes with a great use of colour and unique flair that he brings through with innovative yet simplistic camera angles and comfortingly simple character arcs. Some feel necessarily open ended, while others are rounded off within the very scene they’re brought up in. Characters come and go, and that may very well be the point of the film.
Lucky ends with Stanton giving us a wry smile, lighting a cigarette as he walks off into the horizon. A fitting close to a legend of the big screen. The film is a chance to say goodbye to a great performer, who bows out in a stylish bravado suited to how great he was as both a performer and person. A thoroughly enjoyable time, one that does tend to verge on forgettable, but at the same time brings about a fitting closure to its stars lengthy and prolific career.