Not Much Luck to Be Found in Lucky (2021)
Updated: Dec 26, 2021
First Wide Release: March 4, 2021 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Natasha Kermani
Writer: Brea Grant
Runtime: 83 Minutes
Starring: Brea Grant, Dhruv Uday Singh, Leith M. Burke
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
After an exhausting day at work, May (Brea Grant) returns home to her loving husband, Ted (Dhruv Uday Singh), to unwind. Later that night, a threatening figure breaks into their home. After fighting back and seemingly declaring victory over her would-be slayer, May is bewildered to find that her attacker has vanished from the spot where she left him. The couple speak with the police who appear sympathetic but offer no real solutions. May also grows troubled over how calm and unmoved her husband is by the ordeal. Soon enough, May will realize that her attacker doesn’t have plans on stopping any time soon.
An ambitious yet flawed film, Lucky takes on too much and flounders with the execution of its premise.
I struggle with reviewing Lucky because I wanted to like it so much more than I did. On a technical and artistic level, Lucky is very well-done. The action sequences are beautifully choreographed. Each time the home invader attacks May is a little bit different. These sequences feel engaging and unnerving without getting repetitive. The final twenty minutes or so, we see some really stellar visuals as May’s perspective is “opened” further. Scenes are supported by a wonderfully jarring soundtrack of strings and lighting washed over in bold, primary colors. Director Natasha Kermani knows how to create uncomfortable and striking art.
I wish the same was true about the script.
Often with movies tackling social issues, the dialogue is stiff to the point where the words coming out of character’s mouths do not feel real, even in their universe. Lucky is not an exception here. It reads like a ‘well-intentioned but still not really quite getting it’ viral Twitter thread. And this is a detriment to its characters, who I do think are fleshed out appropriately despite these issues.
May is clueless about the world around her until she is affected by the perpetual cycle of violence that she soon finds herself fighting every day. The men in her life are unaware or in disbelief at to what is happening to her. Ted, in particular, is notably absent for large stretches of time and condescending when confronted with the issue. This also extends to the women she interacts with too. From her assistant to her sister-in-law to the women who attend her book talks, there is a hint of quiet acceptance to this place in society even though they all hope to break free from the cycle.
Truthfully, the message of the film gets muddled the further it goes on. The idea of the silent and accepted victimization and persecution of women is an absolutely worthy topic to incorporate into horror, and the film’s plot blends perfectly with it. The execution, however, is odd. I wish that there was a clearer moment that woke up May to her reality or that we began in media ras. Instead, we are treated to an awkward introduction to the problem without explanation.
The idea of a woman, particularly a woman with May’s intersecting identities being unaware of the issues going on around her is suitable for the story, but Lucky doesn’t do the best job of explaining her awakening. If they did this it would tighten the message, making for a better metaphor and film overall. It’s clearly a satirical film and it should be able to operate in the absurd, but it doesn’t land for me here. I do appreciate, that it is tonally consistent even when its story is not.
There’s no doubt that Lucky has good intentions. It is a vicious little thrill ride that doesn’t let up once it gets going. Unfortunately, its logic isn’t fleshed out enough to drive its truthfully needed message. It’s competently made and is both visually and stylistic up to par with other experimental and “elevated” horror films of recent years. I’m not comfortable saying that Lucky is either something I enjoyed or didn’t. It’s largely just fine. Check it out if you are interested in something more conceptual and like the idea of the home invasion trope flipped on its head. Who knows, maybe you will be lucky enough to enjoy it.
Overall Score? 5.5/10