Stan­ton re­ceives a fit­ting farewell

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY ADAM GRA­HAM Detroit News Film Critic agra­ham@de­troit­news.com (313) 222-2284 @gra­hamorama

Harry Dean Stan­ton gets a lov­ing send-off in “Lucky,” a movie that sets its pace and tone with its open­ing scene in which a tor­toise slowly walks across the dusty frame.

Stan­ton — the hard-leathered Amer­i­can ac­tor who died last month at the ripe-old age of 91 — plays Lucky, a desert dweller who sur­vives on a steady rou­tine of diner vis­its, game shows and trips to his lo­cal bar.

Not much hap­pens in “Lucky,” but there’s plenty go­ing on in this char­ac­ter study from John Car­roll Lynch, the every­man ac­tor of per­pet­ual “oh, that guy!” sta­tus, per­haps best known as the sus­pected Zo­diac killer in David Fincher’s “Zo­diac.”

More than any­thing, it’s a trib­ute to Stan­ton, who wore each of his 91 years in the deep crevasses on his long face, in his weath­ered voice and on his frail frame.

Oth­ers get a chance to shine, as well. David Lynch — who cast Stan­ton in sev­eral projects, in­clud­ing this year’s “Twin

Mag­no­lia Pic­tures / TNS Peaks” re­vival — gets to share screen time with his pal as Howard, a bar pa­tron and friend of Lucky’s whose pet tor­toise, named (in per­fect Lynch fash­ion) Pres­i­dent Roo­sevelt, es­capes his home. Not rated: lan­guage, smok­ing

Run­ning time: 88 min­utes

Tom Skerritt also gets an ex­tended mono­logue where his char­ac­ter gets to re­call a haunt­ing mil­i­tary mem­ory. No one’s in any hurry here.

“Lucky” has the loose feel of one of Jim Jar­musch’s con­ver­sa­tional jawns, where mood and at­mos­phere takes prece­dence over plot me­chan­ics.

When Johnny Cash’s cover of Bon­nie ‘Prince’ Billy’s “I See a Dark­ness” comes over the sound­track, it’s a fit­ting fi­nal walk for Stan­ton, and the fond farewell this unique Amer­i­can icon de­serves.

Harry Dean Stan­ton plays a desert dweller in “Lucky.”

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