It is customary amongst tribes to anoint the oldest man in the village as spiritual leader. Spiritual leaders are unlike Kings. The crown chooses them, and not the other way around. It’s logical: spiritual leaders have been a member of the tribe longer than anyone, and thus has been in touch with the tribe’s spiritual roots longer than anyone. This phenomena represents what is at the core of Lucky.
Lucky follows Harry Dean Stanton, one of Old Hollywood’s baddest mofos. With a razor-thin veil between Stanton and his on-screen character Lucky, this film presents a series of significant realizations that Stanton underwent in his later years. Now that Stanton has out-smoked and out-lived nearly everyone from his generation, he along with director John Carroll Lynch take it upon themselves to craft an 88-minute story segmenting Stanton’s realizations. Given the self-revealing nature of the film, it’s clear that Stanton’s motivation is not self-idolization. Stanton doesn’t want the viewing audience to make the same mistakes as he did. So, he shares what he has learned from mistakes in his own life, and how he’s coped with his dimming mortality. Even though I myself am not as old as Stanton, his lessons are all-inspiring, and I learned a lot about how to admit fear and cope with things in my life that I cannot control. I don’t speak for everyone, but I believe America has anointed Stanton as one of our spiritual leaders. Not because he asked for it, but because we did.
Sublime cinematography. Shots of the sun rising over the distant peaks sprout iridescent rings of colorful illumination on the screen, and colors seem to fade and form at the same time.
The film moves slowly until the last fifteen minutes when things philosophically explode and Lucky comes to grips with the unforgiving laws of the universe. Upon epiphany, the camera zooms into his face, and then it holds. Beautiful filmmaking.
The last 60 seconds show Stanton walking up to the camera, and smiling. Here, he breaks the fourth wall and shatters our perception of the film’s reality. It’s as if he is ending the film on his own terms, rather than letting the screen fade to black.