Lucky Bastard (2014)
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Critic Reviews for Lucky Bastard
[Nathan], who co-wrote the clever, resourceful and at times darkly wry script with Lukas Kendall, effectively combines the eclectic footage (kudos to editor Tony Randel) to form a kicky, highly involving narrative.
None of the murders is particularly well staged (the sound effects feel distinctly off), yielding little in the way of suspense.
Less exploitative and a bit smarter than its seedy adult-film setting would suggest.
A sorry-looking found-footage thriller as unconvincing as its characters' thrashing orgasms.
If nothing else (and that is pretty accurate), this found-footage horror film comprises the perfect storm of keywords to ensure moderate online success: porn, guns, boobs, simulated rape, antisocial psychopath.
Audience Reviews for Lucky Bastard
It's my immense displeasure that the first ever rated "NC-17" found footage film is also one of the worst films of it kind. Poor cinematography aside this is below the level incompetency not just from a storytelling perspective but as film-making as a whole.
Lucky Bastard is a "found footage" thriller about a porn website run by Mike that invites fans to have sex with porn stars. Supposedly the film claims it's captured by the "Lucky Bastard" porn cameras and "is a fresh take on the "found footage" genre". It does not bring a fresh perspective in the found footage genre. If anything it singlehandedly proves why this genre is very weak when it comes to telling a story. It is lazy, filled with plot holes, detestable characters, an absence of logic, and filled with enough material to teach young filmmakers how not make a film. These filmmakers behind "Lucky Bastard" are very talented to have made something beyond simply being awful.
The film begins by telling audiences that the "found footage" film is made of real footage with permissions of the signed participant to legally show the footage. "Found footage" filmmakers if you're claiming your film contains real footage it's a good idea to A.) Not include credits of the actors B.) Go with a credible premise and reasonable profession to why the person is constantly filming, and C.) Do not ever insert footage of a "real" crime scene if you only have one possible candidate for the killer. The opening title card is pretentious saying "For too long the adult entertainment industry has pushed the limit of not only obscenity but common sense". Well I would blame propaganda films like "The Birth of A Nation" that idolizes the KKK that pushed the limit of common sense, but surely porn has done something worse. I mean who am I to argue about obscenity against the filmmakers. I have only seen several animals actually being killed on screen and a one containing an actual autopsy of a kid, but I'm sure the filmmakers would have some good argument to make a claim that bold. One viewing later and the filmmakers have no supporting arguments.
The first eight minutes are entirely pointless. In these eight minutes we see a woman objecting to filming rape porn, but then turns out she is filming rape porn. A bit of a redundant start and keeps getting lower (much to my surprise). I mention these eight minutes because male genitalia is censored in a "NC-17" rated film. The reasoning behind this makes no sense since naked women never come up censored. Not that I want to see male genitalia in my movie, but this is "NC-17" and if the film is set in the porn industry it should not hold anything back. We get a series of unlikable "victims" and questionable editing of why certain scenes were retain. In one scene a porn actress flirtatiously speaks to the camera and orgasm of the idea of doing taxes including a specific detail about saving money with coupons. Sadly this is the most erotic moment in the film since the whole picture lacks nudity and anyone with a personality.
Our so called "Lucky Bastard" is a stereotypical killer who you could tell is crazy from first sight (even the poster gives it away). The opening eight minutes eliminate any mystery since we know this random guy from the internet has no connection to any of the other characters. The killer is the most likable character because he is justified his action. The producer, cameraman, and porn stars are given no redeemable traits. We are told these people have kids, but are constantly mistreating the "Lucky Bastard" you find it difficult want cheer for the heroes death.
You think a website whose service allows viewers to have sex with porn stars would have a better idea of how to approach things like this. Not according to the film. There is a scene where our "Lucky Bastard" has a boner in the van and the producer tells him to go into a public restroom in a restaurant and wank off. Luckily the killer doesn't take the producer advice, but why in the world anyone record something for a porn site in a public restaurant. Also, what kind of producer just tells someone to wank off in a public place out of nowhere. One thing I couldn't buy (like my time back) was the porn star character. The porn star who agreed to have sex with the customer claims she's a professional and has standards. That very difficult to believe when she agreed to have sex with some random crazy looking fan and was easily persuaded to do so.
I like the speech the producer gives to the "Lucky Bastard" about how if their was no more women they would be no more porn. Not true, there has to be around over a million sites just dedicated to porn and there's these thing called computers and DVDs that can save these kind of videos. Sure straight and lesbian porn would no longer continue, but there literally thousands of hours of this stuff recorded on the internet. Also homoerotica would thrive in the industry since it would be the only new content being made and you think a guy working in the adult entertainment industry would know that.
When it comes time to the actual killings they disappoint. The killer is not bright killing one of the workers on camera, in broad daylight in a neighborhood, and when cars are passing by him committing the murder. The killer eliminate the rest by hitting one in the head with a bat and shooting three other victims in the back. Talk about lack of creativity in your killer. The killer also tells a guy to pointlessly wank off before pistol whipping him to death. As for the final death it's unsatisfying for it also ends with someone being shot. I would sympathize with some of the victims, except they deserved it. One was constantly cheating on his wife and seeing how he mistreated his crew I find it difficult to feel any remorse for that specific character. The same could be applied to this film. It's pretends to have something significant to say and a deep story that you can't but hate it just for its immense pretentiousness.
"Lucky Bastard" is "found footage" film-making at it worst being pretentious believing it's deep without a strong argument. The ambiguity of the mystery is diminish within minutes and giving us unlikable heroes is among the worse offense eliminating suspense. The killer is obvious and the way he kills his victims leaves something to be desired. The editing is cheap, the photography is hardly viewable without the camera shaking, and the acting is nonexistent. It has a terrible story that a porno would be embarrassed to have.
The first half of Lucky Bastard is better than it probably deserves to be given the crude subject matter and dialogue because it offers insight into an industry that is frowned upon by most. However, the latter half is less insightful and more inhuman, leaving a dirty taste in the viewers' mouth and squandering what could have been a welcome addition to the found footage genre.
From the perspective of a life-long diehard movie enthusiast, I really enjoyed Lucky Bastard and find myself surprisingly haunted by some of the imagery and the darkness of the story's antagonist. It would be easy to dismiss Lucky Bastard as something trite and low-brow and seemingly not worth the time to pop some corn. Any movie in which the backdrop is the adult film industry suffers an immediate stigma and a lot of closed minds unwilling to consider it as a "legitimate" movie-going experience. That is unfortunate because there is much to treasure here, from the frequently hilarious dialogue to the spot-on performance of Don McManus to the shocking moments of violence that seem totally plausible in today's world.
Lucky Bastard is a highly entertaining exercise in the found-footage genre, lending the impression that we are watching real people in a real situation. Unlike other found-footage movies that focus on the supernatural and therefore become questionable in their realism, Lucky Bastard unfolds with specific and tangible reality. Some may question the acting ability of the cast, but don't be fooled by kneejerk critical reactions. These actors know what they're doing to sell the concept of the movie, as do the artists behind the camera. The very premise, that of a young man who wins a date with his favorite adult film star and visits the set of an adult website to perform in a scene, is 200% believable in the p*rn-saturated cyber reality we live in today. And if you're paying attention, the movie addresses something far beyond the on-screen dalliances of a hopeful everyman and his dream woman. It's ultimately about the dangers of exploitation and the risk of gleefully humiliating so-called geeks, people we label without really knowing them or what they are capable of unleashing. When you consider the facts of today's world in which troubled young people walk into shopping malls and schools and IHOPs to open fire with automatic weapons, Lucky Bastard presents a disturbingly potential reality of what can and does happen when you don't know what you're really dealing with.
To give away Lucky Bastard's plot turns would do a disservice to the prospective viewer. I would simply say give the movie a shot if you want to be entertained, amused, titillated, and ultimately shocked. The movie will gently carry you along for a while, making you laugh, misleading you into a lazy state of casual observation until the first shock comes. The latter half of the film is far from humorous, and there are moments that will resonate, especially when you think about the internet-obsessed guy next door who seems harmless yet a little creepy.
Lucky Bastard puts a fresh spin on the found-footage genre and is effective in delivering laughs, surprises, and an ick factor that you'll think about after it's over. It's also worth mentioning that it's one of the few thrillers I can think of that delivers gruesome events in bright daylight, and that stylistic choice really stood out to me and helps distinguish Lucky Bastard as a unique and believable tale. I think this movie has a very strong appeal to a young, hip audience, and I'm really hoping it can get the attention it deserves and rise above those who would carelessly dismiss it. Check it out!
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