The Lucky Man Review
The Lucky Man is a 2018 sci-fi action film about a preacher and his girlfriend who travel Route 66 scamming small churches, only to find that the bogus healing powers he portrays become real.
Way back in 1992, a Steve Martin comedy called Leap of Faith hit theaters, a story about a conman evangelist who travels about the country ripping off gullible country folk as he and his woman cohort perform miracle healings, fooling those desperate to believe. While Norman Gregory McGuire‘s latest The Lucky Man, has its roots in this same premise, as a couple take to running a fraudulent faith-based travel show, it veers far from expected in this low budget indie film that features a good story and a terrific lead.
Reverend Johnny Jones (Jesse James) is a young, highly charismatic preacher with slick-backed hair and a winning smile. He travels about the land filling in for churches who’ve lost their regular priests, taking with him his beautiful girlfriend Rebecca (Mariana Paola Vicente). He takes to his work seriously though, his job is more about conning his congregations of the money in their wallets than delivering the word of their god. He puts most of his money into booze and cocaine, however, one day, frantic for a hit, he makes a deal that goes wrong with a couple of dealers, ending in gunshots, yet miraculously, when one man goes down, he lays his hands on him and saves his life. Not long after, he’s faced with a similar situation, and once again, finds he has the real power of healing. But karma isn’t on his side, and even as he tries to use his power for good, panics one afternoon and it changes everything, putting him and Rebecca on the run.
First and foremost if a film can be saved by a single performance, and certainly many movies have been, James does just that, delivering a terrific turn as a man suddenly possessed of unheard power and a personality unfit for using it. Written by McGuire, this clever indie is surprisingly deep, even as it’s limited by its budget, one that keeps the film feeling a little underdone. However, this is an actor’s movie and Jones elevates this from frame one. It’s a movie nearly devoid of action, a mostly talky affair that benefits from smart dialogue and good acting that remains pretty compelling as Jones and Rebecca are forced to head south.
Still, despite these very commendable highlights, the more it gets to the end, the more it begins to bend under its own weight as the couple run afoul of the law in increasingly contrived moments. Sticking to a Bonnie and Clyde formula, one the characters themselves make note of, it has greater ambitions than it can deliver, even with an admittedly stylish finale. Nevertheless, it manages to grip and all said, makes for a satisfying little adventure that is an easy recommendation for fans of indie films and more so, James.
The Lucky Man Review
Movie description: The Lucky Man is a 2018 sci-fi action film about a preacher and his girlfriend who travel Route 66 scamming small churches, only to find that the bogus healing powers he portrays become real.
Director(s): Norman Gregory McGuire
Actor(s): Jesse James, Burton Gilliam, Mariana Paola Vicente