By George Bate & Josh Reilly B.
An older man wins the lottery for $156 million at a convenience score around the Christmas holidays. Another man, who overhears that someone in the store has a winning lottery ticket, sees an opportunity here, steals the ticket, and holds the man hostage. From there, events unfold with one bad decision after another having dire consequences for many… That’s the basic premise of Your Lucky Day, a new thriller from writer/director Daniel Brown premiering at this year’s Fantastic Fest.
Your Lucky Day began as a short film, one that writer/director Daniel Brown created as a modernized take on Chaucer’s ‘The Pardoner’s Tale.’ The short film (which can be viewed on Vimeo here) was a hit and quickly there sparked interest in turning the short into a feature film. And those who have seen the short film will know why that was the case. Your Lucky Day is a gem of a movie, one that is contained to a single location and doesn’t lose its ironclad grip on the audience for a second.
Playing Sterling, the man who holds up the convenience store to get the winning lottery ticket for himself, is the late Angus Cloud. The 25-year-old actor, known for his role as Fezco in HBO’s acclaimed drama Euphoria, passed away just two months ago and makes one of his final on-screen appearances in Your Lucky Day. The line distinguishing where the character Sterling begins and the actor Cloud ends is blurry, which is a testament to the actor’s extremely natural performance and on-screen demeanor. The film concludes with a touching tribute to Angus Cloud and, overall, serves as a showcase for the caliber of performer the late actor was.
Set almost entirely within the confines of a small convenience score during the Christmas holidays, Your Lucky Day excels as an atmospheric and contained thriller. The production design deftly maps out the geography of the small setting, which makes the claustrophobic intensity of the film all the more palpable. And this intensity never lets up until the very end. An apt comparison would be the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems in which characters are always speaking over one another and there’s always something bad around every corner.
The film focuses on six strangers, who all have converged at a convenience store. Angus Cloud plays a man whose desperation for money leads him to make a number of misguided decisions. Cloud’s character Sterling is accompanied by a store owner, a wealthy man, a pregnant woman and her partner, and a rookie cop. It evokes films like The Hateful Eight in bringing a collective of mismatched individuals together and throwing them into a high-stakes, confined scenario.
Your Lucky Day never loses its intensity, but it does grow somewhat less interesting in its final 20 minutes or so. At this point, the dynamics of the characters have greatly changed from where everyone began and matters become a little more straightforward than beforehand. As the film wraps up, there’s a sense that the narrative has lost its footing somewhat and its raw realism has dissipated.
Your Lucky Day follows a gunman who holds a convenience store hostage during the Christmas holidays when one of its customers wins a $156 million lottery. Unfolding with Uncut Gems-like intensity, the film excels with its contained setting and twisty narrative. The film marks one of Angus Cloud’s last performances and serves as a beautiful showcase to the raw talent the young actor possessed. If you choose to watch Your Lucky Day, you’re in luck, because it’s an enthralling watch.