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Stars: Harry Dean Stanton, Beth Grant, Ron Livingston, David Lynch, James Darren, Ed Begley Jr, Tom Skerritt, Barry Shabaka Henley, Yvonne Huff

Director: John Carroll Lynch

A semi-biographical portrait of the late Harry Dean, here called Lucky, a loner as he always has been, and eking out his last years in a small Arizona town where everybody knows everybody else.

Lucky doesn't seem to care about anyone but himself (if that), but he has a small circle of friends at the local bar, including Elaine (Grant) and Fred (Darren, looking great at 80), who run the place, and Howard (Lynch, in a rare acting role) who's in the process of leaving everything to his pet tortoise, which has unfortunately just escaped.

One part charm, one part poignancy and one part tedium, the film follows the 90-year-old westerner's daily routine, from his morning exercises, to his daily battle with the crossword at the local diner, to the time spent at the bar.

There's an interlude at the fiesta to celebrate a local Mexican kid's birthday, and an encounter with a war vet (Skerritt), which provides the best scene in the film, both men playing with refreshing naturalness,

But most of the time the debutant director (previously known only for his character acting), just lets his canvas focus on Stanton himself, which is often emotionally stirring, but occasionally less successful, given the actor's frequently hesitant delivery.

Incidentally, I'm not normally a collector of movie goofs, but I became hypnotised by Livingston's coffee cup as he sits with Stanton in the diner. To and fro, it seemed to move position with every new shot.

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Eureka!. Colour by Cinelease.
87 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 09 Sep 2018