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Lucky Day – Movie Review

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Lucky Day – Movie Review

Rating: D+ (Bad)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Elevation Pictures

The independent film scene is filled with movies that attempt to be unique and daring in how they play with cinematic conventions. This can either result in a film that is genuinely giving the audience a new and different experience or something that tries too hard to separate itself from the pack. Lucky Day falls into the latter group, as director/writer Roger Avary tries his best to spice up his crime film with oddball characters, but the story never picks up steam and the humour is more perplexing than actually funny. Lucky Day tries to do many things at once, but few of its plot points or major set-pieces leave an impression.

The quirky nature of the film is immediately felt when we’re introduced to Crispin Glover’s assassin Luc, who talks in an exaggerated French accent. The central character, a just released prisoner named Red, is married to a French woman and their daughter and nanny also speak French. Is any of this important to the story? Not really. It merely becomes an easily identifiable way to describe these characters, because they have otherwise barebones personalities. We also have an art gallery owner, who has a mustache drawn on his face for no other reason than Avery might be making a commentary on the art world.

Watching Lucky Day, the sound of Roger Avary as his keyboard is frequently felt. These don’t feel like genuine characters we’re watching, but rather the product of a screenwriter. Avary is a talented writer, so the unsubtle nature of the screenplay is disappointing. There is not a single subtle moment in this movie and this applies to the direction and acting, too. Almost everyone is asked to act as over-the-top as possible. Luc could have seemed like an actual threat, but Glover plays him as more easily irritated than anything else as he struggles with the accent. There are also a lot of close-up shots on the actors, which gets distracting very quickly.

The character relationships also fall short. There is little chemistry between Red and Nina Dobrev’s Chloe and his friendship with Cle Bennett’s locksmith doesn’t seem like it goes back several years. A few actors do end up with performances that slightly rise above the material. Dobrev isn’t required to overact like everyone and we get an idea of the bond she has with her daughter. Even with being saddled with a personality quirk where she refuses to speak English, newcomer Ella Ryan Quinn is able to bring a natural childlike quality to her performance. Clifton Collins, Jr. also makes the most of what little screentime he has, playing a parole officer. It’s a credit to Collins that he’s able to take a scene where he psychologically interprets a painting without sounding pompous.

Even though it’s trying to be unique, Lucky Day just comes across like a lot of independent films that attempted to emulate the Quentin Tarantino style of quirky dialogue mixed with over-the-top violence and characterization. Everything is pushed to 11 in this movie and even Crispin Glover as a crazed hitman with eclectic music taste feels too try hard. One can see the pieces were there to make this a fun comedic crime film and the actors seem well cast. However, once the too-long climax arrives, the offbeat nature of Lucky Day has simply become tiring.

Stefan Ellison

Stefan Ellison