O Lucky Man!

O Lucky Man!

DVD - 2007
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Armed with ambition and a work ethic, coffee salesman hits the road and finds that desire alone can't bring wealth and status. Bonus features include commentary, new feature-length career profile, and vintage featurette.
Publisher: Burbank, CA : Warner Bros. Entertainment : Distributed by Warner Home Video, [2007]
Edition: Two-disc special ed
ISBN: 9781419863769
Call Number: DVD F O
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (ca. 178 min.) : sd., col., with b&w sequences ; 4 3/4 in


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Feb 17, 2017

After decades of film viewing ,this remains my favorite film. I've seen it more times than I can count. The nature of this surreal romp eludes many viewers. So much going on here, from meditations on greed and selflessness to recurring visual motifs of water and sheep, and the most important thing: actors playing multiple roles, who the protagonist (Mick Travis, played with verve by Malcolm McDowell) almost recognizes. The film is loaded with allusions to Zen Buddhism and reincarnation. The key is the framing sequences involving the command to smile. A clue: look at what Mick is hit with the last time he's told to smile, and it becomes clearer.
Alan Price has a singular presence in the film, first as a sort of Greek chorus ruminating on key themes in songs framed by blackouts, then as a character, when his band saves Mick from - but that would be telling.
This is a problematic review. I want people to want to see the film, but I don't want to give away key elements. Yes, it's three hours, but if you see its story clearly as the metaphor for living life rather than trying to beat life, you come away lucky.

Jan 31, 2015

Not a single social institution escapes unscathed in Lindsay Anderson’s three hour tantrum aimed at all things authoritarian. The story follows the picaresque adventures of Michael Travis, a young naif determined to make his fortune by becoming the best coffee salesman in northeast Britain. It isn’t long before he discovers that the world isn’t quite the oyster he thought it would be however and the convoluted, oddly surreal tale that follows becomes a caustic Pilgrim’s Progress for modern times. After being wrongfully convicted and sentenced to prison Travis undergoes a complete change of heart, discarding his capitalist credo in favour of a more humanitarian approach to life. Unfortunately he soon realizes that this new-found faith in mankind may be unwarranted as he is victimized by the very people he sets out to help. Anderson aims for the same wry satire that Kubrick achieved a few years earlier in A Clockwork Orange but in his mad dash to piss on every altar he can find he instead delivers a series of sarcastic rants with no big payoff in the end although I must admit the ending was fun in its own way. I did appreciate some of the film’s little touches---the fact that he had the same actors play multiple characters, and the musical interludes that served to fill in the gaps and provide some sense of continuity. There is definitely food for thought here, if only he didn’t try to force feed us.


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