16th May2014

‘Lucky Bastard’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Don McManus, Jay Paulson, Betsy Rue, Chris Wylde, Catherine Annette, Lee Kholafai, Lanny Joon, Clint Brink, Deborah Zoe | Written by Robert Nathan, Lukas Kendall | Directed by Robert Nathan

lucky-bastard-poster

When I read the story line for Lucky Bastard I couldn’t help but remember the scene in Boogie Nights in the limo with Roller Girl (Heather Graham) being served up to a “fan”, that didn’t end well and neither does Lucky Bastard.  Things never go well when reality is mixed with fantasy…

Lucky Bastard is a website run by Mike (Don McManus) which invites fans to have sex with porn stars.  Dave (Jay Paulson) is the latest fan to be selected, and the porn star Ashley Saint (Betsy Rue) is less than happy about doing a scene with an amateur.  As the shoot nears and things start getting tense, will Mike get the money shot he expects?

Whatever your thoughts on the porn industry are, it is a business where sex is a commodity, Lucky Bastard never hides that fact.  In a fictionalised version of the porn world where there is a constant struggle for control between the manager/director Mike and the performers, be it amateur (Dave) or professional (Ashley) it is made clear the female performers have the final say on if the shoot happens or not.  They get paid the most, and they are the real focus.  If anything, the fan (Dave) is just there for comic relief and is expected to fail.  Mike the manager is simply the sleazy guy who comes up with the idea and has to make things run smoothly so that he can make some money out of it all.  Dave is just lucky to be there.

In showing the outcome of the events that take place in the house at the start of the film anticipation is created for what is to come.  What we don’t know is who does the killing at that point, but we expect it to be the “Lucky Bastard”.  We are given enough hints that this fan is not who he says he is, it’s pretty obvious that he’s created a sob story just to be able to be chosen, but what do you expect from a setup so sleazy anyway? Mike’s preoccupation with getting sex on film is emphasised by a scene where Ashley asks if a background check has been done on Dave and the simple reply is “He has no STDs”.  There are many warning signs in the film that we as the voyeuristic audience see, but they all seem to be ignored as Dave is just a slab of meat to Mike, to be consumed by the cutthroat industry where he is just a “fan”.

For some time in Lucky Bastard there is a hint of a mystery as to just who the killer is.  It’s easy to assume that Dave is the killer, but there are hints that others have just as much motive to pull out a gun and start shooting, there is a lot of tension between the characters.  I wondered if there would be a twist, and I waited for it to come…I won’t give away if it happened or not as that would be a spoiler.  The important thing though is that the characters are believable and we can feel the tension building until it explodes and then the violence begins.  I for one found myself impressed with the way Lucky Bastard built the tension up and made us care about the characters.  Instead of just creating paper-thin cannon fodder people on the screen we have fleshed out back stories that keep us interested in where the film is going to go.

Lucky Bastard is a movie that is more about control than about the violence we see.  We have Mike who just wants to make money by making people have sex and we have the performers who have their own code of conduct.  The importace of respect and power are themes that are important to the plot and this is what makes the film surprisingly strong.  Yes, it’s uses the found footage method of filming, but it uses it very well and although there are a few places where the acting seems slightly wooden for the most part this is luckily kept at a minimum.  I’d say that Lucky Bastard is a film to make time to watch, it just may surprise you.

Lucky Bastard is available on VOD in the US now. No word on a UK release as yet.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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