Lucky Day tells the story of Red (Luke Bracey), a safe cracker who has just been released from prison and desperately wants to restart his life with his loving wife, Chloe (Nina Dobrev) and daughter, Beatrice (Ella Ryan Quinn). However, just as things seem to be settling down, his past suddenly catches up to him in the form of Luc (Crispin Glover), a contract killer who is hunting Red with revenge on his mind. As a result, Red must find a way to keep his family safe while also managing to avoid being sent back to prison.
Written and directed by Roger Avary, Lucky Day sees the Oscar winner (Best Original Screenplay, Pulp Fiction) return to the criminal underworld. Unfortunately, a wildly uneven script holds Lucky Day from ever achieving the heights of his previous work. Though the cast seems to be clearly enjoying their places in the film’s world of chaos (especially Crispin Glover as the wild and homicidal sociopath, Luc), the film still struggles to maintain a coherent focus.
In his early work, Avary displayed his penchant for dry humour in the midst of a vicious and unrelenting underworld. However, whereas his previous films have celebrated their time in the darkness, Lucky Day focuses on the challenges of starting over. Brutal in its violence and crass in its approach at times, the film clearly delineates the differences between the world of clean living and the realm of murderous mayhem. For instance, while Red’s world consists solid relationships with his family and friends, Luc’s life consists of reckless selfishness and violent disarray. There is a loving order that rests as the foundation of Red’s life that directly contrasts with Luc’s constant chaos and lust. As such, there remains a hopefulness to Red that eludes Luc who remains trapped within his own anger and grief.
Despite his hopeful attitude, the film very much questions whether or not Red can change. Though he seeks to truly ‘keep his nose clean’, Red is relentlessly watched by his probation officer, Sanchez, who constantly questions his behaviour. Believing that people never truly change, Sanchez revels at the prospect of sending Red back to prison for the smallest infraction against his probation. However, with his love for his family firmly in view, Red remains steadfast in his commitment to change his life. Although he has just been released from prison, Red’s actions reveal him to be a good man that deserves a second chance. In this way, Lucky Day offers mercy to Red as he truly attempts to change and start his life over as a husband and father. (Incidentally, it’s also worth noting here that Avary himself has recently been released from prison, suggesting that there may be some autobiographical elements to Red’s journey as well.)
In the end, while Dobrev, Glover and Bracey are game for the film’s wild mayhem, the script simply doesn’t come together in the end. Despite an entertaining set-up and some creative characters, Lucky Day unfortunately misses its target.
Lucky Day fights its way into theatres and VOD on October 11th, 2019.