“Suitably slow paced and considered in its approach, John Carroll Lynch’s directorial debut is a wonderfully poignant piece…” – Wayward Wolf.
Lucky is a man marking time.
An insular, yoga-practicing, game show-watching, diner and bar-frequenting grumpy old man, holding strong to the sort of routines, long-held opinions and unshakeable habits that one would expect of a man his age.
Watching this doddery old timer make his way methodically around the small town in which he lives is a somewhat sobering experience. One can’t help but ponder the fact that none of us are getting any younger, and that it all only ever ends one way.
And it’s Ed Begley Jr, portraying Dr. Christian Kneedler – invoking nostalgic memories of a much loved Begley character of yesteryear, the smart-mouthed Dr. Victor Ehrlich of St. Elsewhere fame – who hammers this point home.
Having fallen and hit his head following an uncharacteristic dizzy spell, Lucky undergoes a number of medical tests and is naturally curious to hear Dr. Kneedler’s diagnosis:
“You’re old and you’re getting older…”
“That’s all I’ve got.”
It’s quite a favourable diagnosis really considering both Lucky’s age and chain smoking habit.
This does however mark something of a turning point in the old man’s life. Suddenly confronted by his own mortality, through the interactions with those around him, Lucky begins to experience something of a late life spiritual awakening. Begrudgingly he loosens his grip on the things that have come to define him, and little by little, he begins to live again.
Essentially, Lucky is a tale of learning to let go, of dealing with our inner emotional pain and loneliness, and achieving some degree of inner peace in the process.
In David Lynch, Tom Skerritt, Barry Shabaka Henley, Ron Livingston and Beth Grant, there is a supporting cast of some note that not only produce perfectly understated performances fitting of the film’s unassuming small town setting, but additionally provide the perfect pillars of worldly experience and wisdom with whom Lucky will mentally and verbally spar on his own personal Road to Damascus.
Suitably slow paced and considered in its approach, John Carroll Lynch’s directorial debut is a wonderfully poignant piece, made doubly so considering of course it proved to be the very final outing for the late great Harry Dean Stanton, whose performance here it should be said is right up there with his very best work.
A fittingly fine way to bow out for one of the true greats of cinema.