It’s a widely held view that the quality of American cinema has a lot to do with the magnificent level of its character actors: the ones whose own lines give strength and depth to the leading roles, the ones with real faces, time-ravaged bearers of culture, the ones who make a relationship with the viewer possible.
Conceived as a homage to one of the greatest of all such character actors, Lucky is both a custom-made film for Harry Dean Stanton, as well as a volume of pocket philosophy. With his slow but musical pace, far-off look and unforced disillusionment, Harry Dean Stanton is America’s answer to that great nation’s apparent obsession with expressing hunger for success in a race against time. Around Lucky and his last ballad, John Carroll Lynch (another great character actor, on debut behind the camera) sets out a gallery of men and women hanging on to their lives, be they the regulars of a saloon bar or a clerk in a small-town store. Well paced, with fine dialogue and echoes from other, quite different experiences, along with a remarkable performance by David Lynch (this time as actor), Lucky is a journey into a timeless world, a world that perhaps never existed but whose presence has resonated through countless film scenes. Faced with the void that awaits us, there can be no better solution than the example of President Roosevelt the tortoise, stepping slowly but surely ahead with his coffin on his back. Which is also the enlightenment found by Lucky, who manages to turn his awareness of being alone into a more reassuring all + one.Carlo Chatrian