Cultural Bulletin
Cultural Bulletin is a quarterly magazine that provides an international view of creative work. We look to film, music, design and art as signifiers of our cultural moment.

In Review: Lucky

Director: John Carroll Lynch


Highly Recommended

This tender and understated film about the inevitability of death and one man’s journey in discovering acceptance leaves a quiet emotional imprint. It takes you to a place that possibly isn’t often visited - considering deeply the fear and questions that surround our mortality. To really go there is frightening and sad and with Lucky we do. 

Lucky (by name and nature, his doctor sees him as a medical marvel in his old age, fine in health and yet a keen chain-smoker) is a small town Second World War veteran understanding that he is nearing the end of his life. It is moving to consider this was Harry Dean Stanton’s penultimate screen role, before his death on September 15 2017. It is a wonderful performance: subtle, charming, eccentric and powerfully truthful. 

Along the course of Lucky’s daily routine, we meet various friends and townsfolk who, in their everyday lives, hold poignancy to him as he questions life and death. It seems as if when philosophising and questioning such existential things, every comment made and every small action taken holds a deeper meaning. The dialogue and metaphors don’t shy away from this. It’s as if we are in Lucky’s head, feeling their weight and effect. President Roosevelt, an old tortoise, has gone missing - affecting the life of Howard (David Lynch). Even in this, we see Lucky relating and musing. 

Accepting a situation as it is and dealing with it accordingly - the dictionary definition of realism, Lucky realises. He defends the word ‘alone’, stating that it’s beautiful. Alone comes from ‘all one’. There is a comforting peacefulness and simplicity to the film, that seems reflective of the inevitability of what is to come. SC