Angelica Torn, Federico Castelluccio, Luke Zarzecki, Will Patton, Anne Jackson, Rip Torn
Angelica Torn, Tony Torn
"Just because you can take it doesn't mean it should happen..."
Virginia (Angelica Torn) embarks on a quest for freedom during the final weekend in the history of New York's legendary Coney Island and, indeed, Lucky Days was the last film to be shot at the location before its sacrifice for "bigger and better" commercial objectives. After the reappearance of her childhood sweetheart (Luke Zarzecki), Virginia uncovers truths about her current boyfriend (Federico Castelluccio) and her neighborhood that will force her to abandon everything she knows or even herself.
Produced by Paul Newman and bearing the pedigree of the Torn family known, Lucky Days has the unfortunate look and feel of an overwrought pet project that likely came to life simply by having a name that would open doors. Co-directed and penned by lead actress Angelica Torn, daughter of actor Rip Torn, "Lucky Days" takes a serious theme but never breathes any life into it.
Lucky Days certainly has its supporters. Its website features praise from the likes of the Dallas Observer, Sandra Bernhard and Shane Black. and the film captured the Gold Remi Award at Worldfest Houston and was named Best Feature at the last Coney Island Film Festival (I'm avoiding any jokes here) along with being an official selection at USA Film Festival and Amnesty International's Human Rights Art Festival.
Yet, for this critic, Lucky Days plays like a constantly self-aware, trying to be important cinematic exercise that sounds emotional but never truly feels authentic.
The film's strengths, and it definitely has strengths, are in Angelica Torn's script and in her brightly lit performance. While one sort of gets the sense that perhaps Torn wore too many hits on the production, perhaps needing to allow co-director and brother Tony Torn to solely direct, Torn's fingerprints are undeniably etched in the fabric of Lucky Days and she reveals herself to be both a promising screenwriter and actress.
Despite its Hollywood pedigree, Lucky Days is a modestly budgeted indie flick and the film frequently shows its budgetary limitations with supporting performances that are wildly inconsistent and editing that needs to be remixed before the film's planned August 10th DVD release after a limited nationwide release with Seminal Films.
For more information, visit the Seminal Films website.