Lucky Blu-ray Review

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When your time comes, what do you do? Smile.

by Casimir Harlow Nov 11, 2018 at 7:45 AM

  • Movies review


    Lucky Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £12.99

    Lucky Film Review

    The late, great Harry Dean Stanton pulled off one last gem in this quietly sobering little indie flick about mortality.

    Lucky tells the story of a 90 year old atheist who is winding down, ready to die alone. Harry Dean Stanton, just turned 90 himself at the time of shooting, plays the titular Lucky, an ex-war veteran whose daily routine of exercises, a walk to town, and an excess number of cigarettes seems to be an endless cycle which he hopes will never stop, but which he knows will.

    This surprisingly assured directorial debut from actor John Carroll Lynch is a tremendous little lead vehicle for veteran character actor Harry Dean Stanton, his frail 90 year stature still commanding the screen with all the experience of a lifetime in movies (over 60 years) and a fierce determination indicative of a character who just doesn't have anything left to lose and certainly isn't afraid of speaking his mind, even if he's sometimes afraid of facing what's on his mind.

    Lucky is a fine bookend to an expansive career.

    A simple film, set in a few locations in and around the Arizona desert, Lucky enjoys its quiet contemplation, hinting at religious observations and addressing the difficulty with accepting loss of life - most pointedly your own - and difficulty with accepting what happens next (David Lynch loses his pet tortoise, which becomes a beautiful analogy).

    Lucky's refusal to accept the belief of others becomes some form of metaphor for observing denial in all shapes and forms, and studying mortality at its most poignant, with a potential acceptance that - given Stanton's own age and unexpected proximity to death - is all the more resonant.

    It's even more of a tragedy that Stanton never got to see the film's release. Lucky is a fine bookend to an expansive career of memorable moments, dating back from Cool Hand Luke to Godfather Part II; from Alien to Paris, Texas; from The Last Temptation of Christ to The Straight Story to even an atypical cameo in Avengers. It's well worth checking out.

    Lucky Blu-ray Picture

    Lucky Lucky Blu-ray Picture
    Eureka's Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release of Lucky delivers the small gem with a frequently very good 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen.

    It may be a small movie, but the setting is as much a character as the people who inhabit it, and the presentation laps up the broad open vistas, the environmental nuances, and the textures of the well-worn bars and diners.

    A very good presentation.

    Detail is excellent, observing the minutiae of the setting; the building and the desert backdrop, with every single crag on Stanton's understandably but very visibly weathered face highlighted for the screen to lap up, and the tumbleweed and cacti along the desert landscape there to be enjoyed.

    The colour scheme is natural for the setting too, but also enjoys the richness of the environment; the gorgeous light teal blue skies and sun-bleached/drenched buildings and that vibrant and inviting door that opens up in the night. Black levels suffer a little under crush, and grain is not entirely stable, but for the most part it merely reinforces a very organically textured feature that looks pretty impressive considering its scale.

    Lucky Blu-ray Sound

    Lucky Lucky Blu-ray Sound
    The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track does a solid job providing a richly atmospheric backdrop to the proceedings; sure it may well be a quaint, quiet and low-key piece, but it's teeming with background nuances that keep the settings alive whilst also celebrating the silence.

    The track does a solid job providing a richly atmospheric backdrop.

    Dialogue remains clearly and coherently disseminated throughout, even Stanton's chewed words come across with precision over the frontal array. Whilst the dialogue is clearly the most important aspect, the track picks up on the quiet bustle of the cafe or the bar, street noises, the wind blowing across the landscape and the insects chirping in the background, with the party band providing some live music to spice up the reflective, unobtrusive score.

    Lucky Blu-ray Extras

    Lucky Lucky Blu-ray Extras
    Eureka's Blu-ray release of Lucky affords it one of the best extras you could hope for: the 76 minute 2012 Documentary Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, which features a strew of interviews from his film friends and colleagues - as well as plenty from the man himself - reflecting on a burgeoning career and some great roles across the decades.

    A great extras package.

    There are also a couple of great Interviews to round out the extras, with the Director and a couple of Stanton aficionados on hand to talk about the production and the man, respectively, and lovingly. It's a great extras package from Eureka, defined by the lottery win of that Documentary.

    Lucky Blu-ray Verdict

    Lucky Lucky Blu-ray Verdict
    A fitting bookend to a filmography that included well over a hundred film roles.

    Harry Dean Stanton enjoyed an expansive career in the movies, and Lucky is a fitting bookend to a filmography that included well over a hundred film roles. A rare lead performance, it's a lovely little celebration of life and death, delivered here by Eureka on an impressive Blu-ray release that not only provides strong video and audio but also a great extras package that includes the feature-length 2012 Documentary, Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction. It comes recommended.

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £12.99

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