Lucky may not be a perfect film, but watching it may be a perfect cinematic experience thanks to Harry Dean Stanton’s grand performance in one of his final roles. (He could be a posthumous Oscar winner.) The venerable actor portrays an aging man in a small town, whose days are filled with game shows, coffee shops and a regular trip to the local watering hole. Lucky has few contemporaries left and seems to have only one friend, an unnamed person he calls on a regular basis.
Character actor John Carroll Lynch (Frances McDormand’s husband in Fargo) makes his directorial debut with an indie character study that is generous rather than self-indulgent, humanistic rather than stylized. Stanton commands attention but imbues Lucky with warmth. Everyone wants to engage with him, a stark contrast to many similar films focused on an old codger-ish protagonist. Yet David Lynch’s small role as Howard, another local eccentric whose best friend is a 100-year-old tortoise, may be the film’s biggest treat.
Audiences get exactly what they expect from Stanton’s truly magnificent curtain call, but Lynch will put an unexpected smile on your face. Lucky is as must-see as indie cinema gets.
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