+ Recommended – NR, Comedy, Drama
Harry Dean Stanton has a filmography unlike many actors working today. When I scrolled down his IMDB page I found that he achieved a level of success many actors would kill for. And at the age of 91, what would be a better film to top-off his expansive career other than Lucky?
From the outside, it might seem that the story and themes are shallow; and by examining them closely and on their own, without worldly context, they are. However, when you pair themes of aging and existentialism with real life it enhances the experience of the art. The film follows Lucky (Stanton), a ninety-year-old WWII vet who lives alone, contemplating the meaning of his existence.
Atmospherically, the dry, desert setting provides a visual representation of a barren life. Persistent, radiating heat from the sun drains life from both the landscape and our main character. This allows for us to see Lucky in the barest amount of clothing and to see how his body is decaying towards the end of his life. There are numerous shots focused on Lucky’s body and how that shapes his personality for the duration of the run-time.
John Carroll Lynch effectively communicates Lucky’s personality and persona through dialogue with the people around Lucky; particularly the town’s store owners and bartenders. That lends Stanton the juice he needed to portray a character mainly through facial expressions and his physicality. I must say, it was a difficult experience to watch Lucky after the passing of Stanton but rewarding to connect art to real life. In a way, one could say it was life imitating art.
While not every conversation or scene worked in favor of a deeper story and the dialogue was, at times, too on-the-nose to pass as believable, Lucky provides a fascinating character study for only an hour and a half of your time. Should you check it out? Definitely, especially if you are a fan of Stanton or Lynch’s work. But don’t feel obligated to rush out and rent it. For those who have a Hulu account, you should be able to stream Lucky whenever you feel emotionally ready to sit down and pay attention to Stanton’s detailed, last performance.