Film Review: The Lucky Ones

There are a lot of films, that fall between the cracks, and don't even make it to the cinema. Or barely get a DVD release date. Sad, but true. Sometimes, its because the quality of the film is that of a badly made TV film. Other times, its well made, but the actors or makers of the film, are not well known, and not enough attention is raised.

The Lucky Ones, is of the latter. Its a subtle film, and tells the story of three soldiers, two home on leave (30 days long) from the war, the third who's finished his duty. At the airport, all the flights are grounded, so they band together and rent a car to go where they need to.

Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins and Michael Pena are unrecognisable, not because of makeup, or any special effects, but it is because of the characters that they are showing to the screen. Its so impressive, and it ensures that its the characters that you remember the most, and stay with you.

This film was directed and co written by Neil Burger, the other writer being Dirk Wittenborn. Mr Burger has also directed and wrote the fine film The Illusionist, which also drew you in and each scene was well choreographed in a way, like this one. Mr Wittenborn wrote the book and the screenplay of Fierce People.

This film doesn't take sides in the war, which I liked, it was almost a relief in a way. It made things a lot simpler, and it gave the characters a chance to show what they were like.

I have seen two other war films that portrayed soldiers home on leave, Home of the Brave and Stop Loss. Both were well acted and scripted. But they also had a problem with being bogged down with a lot of detail. Stop Loss was publicised as being well researched by interviewing real soldiers about their experiences, and even then there was backlash about it being unrealistic. Home of the Brave, I thought Jessica Biel really showed her ability in that one, but again, too much detail and a lot of conflicting sides and ideals that didn't really have much chance of being explored.

The Lucky Ones, was an almost easy film to watch, it had a few moments to shock you, but it seemed more real than others. That, and it didn't try to do too much either. The only downside of this film is that the limited places where you possibly buy a copy of it on DVD.


  1. These two quotes comes from two movies that didn't make to even a limited cinema release. Excellent movies though.

    “Principal Gardner: Everybody needs to vent a little now and again, don't you figure? Some of us are privileged enough to vent to you in the boys' room stalls and the rest of us have to settle for less conventional methods. Like, I don't know a bottle of booze and a handgun.
    [Gun goes off]
    Charlie Bartlett: Ahh!
    Principal Gardner: God, I'm sorry, I'm not putting you on edge with my behaviour now am I?”

    “Jason 'Jinx' Taylor: It's called "exploding noema". It's a theory of psychoanalysis that describes the exact startling moment when the brain can't reconcile the difference between what should be and what actually is. Kinda like thinking you picked up a coke and you actually drink cigarette butts and beer. That moment is over now and your brain is facing the reality that if you even get up from that chair, this little gadget of yours it's gonna be a bunch of little gadget pieces.”


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