Tag Archives: Lucky

Luck Be a Lady


by George Wolf

Lucky takes a well-known horror trope – the masked killer whose “dead” body vanishes when you turn your back – and puts it in a freshly relevant light.

A gaslight, if you will.

May (Brea Grant, who also wrote the screenplay) is a self-help author living in the California suburbs with her husband Ted (Dhruv Uday Singh). They are working to get past a rough patch in their marriage when a strange, persistent threat presents himself.

Every night, a masked man (Hunter C. Smith) tries to break in and kill May. She fights him off – sometimes spilling plenty of blood in the process – but he always seems to get away. The police are on the case, but they’re more interested in why Ted doesn’t appear to be around anymore.

And they’d really like her to calm down.

Grant’s script is often smart and timely, and director Natasha Kermani peels enough layers successfully to hit a number of societal bullseyes. But an extended metaphor such as this is tough to keep constantly afloat, and some gaps of logic in the narrative work against the film’s subtlety and in turn, its overall power.

Grant and Kermani end up walking an entertaining line between subversive humor and metaphorical slasher. Lucky works best in that center, when May becomes a living example of that internet meme comparing what men and women do each day to avoid becoming a victim.

This is the final girl in a modern world of gaslighting and victim-shaming, where women form common bonds overs fears too often dismissed.

Just calm down, Honey, you’re lucky to be alive!

Exit Stanton


by Matt Weiner

It’s a fitting tribute to the range of Harry Dean Stanton that his career could’ve ended with just about any role and you could decently argue, “Well, that makes sense.” But to give us Lucky at the end of a decades-long career is nothing short of one last cosmic joke at the non-religious character’s expense: God not only exists, but is a huge Harry Dean Stanton fan.

Lucky is the debut feature from John Carroll Lynch, who is, like Stanton, a gifted character actor probably used to being called “ohhh that guy!” And with Lucky (written by Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja), the collaboration between Lynch and Stanton is pitch-perfect.

As Lucky, Stanton carries more weight than his brittle frame should bear. Lucky is a 90-year-old World War II veteran who has seemingly outlived everything save death. A minor fall and a visit with the town doctor (Ed Begley Jr.) prods the tequila-drinking, cigarette-smoking atheist Lucky to maybe, finally, reflect on his mortality, which he does begrudgingly through a series of interactions with local friends and strangers.

With little more than a light of his cigarette or a hoarse whisper of “bullshit,” Lucky makes it clear that he hasn’t the time or interest in what comfort God or religion has to offer in a world of horrors and loss. Yet the film is deeply—reverently—spiritual.

Lucky is the spiritual heir of Max von Sydow’s knight from The Seventh Seal, if he got to live out his days through the funhouse of America. The oppressive Lutheranism of Ingmar Bergman has been replaced by a more searching acceptance—and both films uncomfortably force us to make our own peace with the time we have.

If Lucky doesn’t waver in his beliefs, he can still realize a sort of spiritual enlightenment. You get the sense, with his age and relative good health, that Lucky is more afraid of being immune to destiny than of dying, and how can anyone find meaning in that?

Thankfully, the film gives Lucky perfectly cast sounding boards to figure it out by way of the supporting characters, especially a show-stealing turn from David Lynch as a man in mourning for his lost tortoise, President Roosevelt. (That this doesn’t crack the top five strangest moments in the history of David Lynch/Harry Dean Stanton collaborations is saying something.)

John Carroll Lynch chooses to leave us with something hovering between resolution and reservation, as if Lucky is one long Zen koan. But knowing how things end doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to discover. Watching Stanton in any performance is to see flashes of some elusive truth buried within his characters. Watching him as Lucky is an untouchable capstone.