O Lucky Man! - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

O Lucky Man! Reviews

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November 21, 2017
Absolutely smashing. Hallucinatory, epic journey. David Sherwin's screenplay has elements of satire, slapstick, Bertolt Brecht, Voltaire, Joseph Campbell, Ibsen's Peer Gynt, and what Lindsay Anderson does at the end when Malcolm McDowell asks him "What's there to smile about?" is a pure moment of Zen. Alan Price's score should have been nominated for an Oscar, but in 1974 the music branch of the Academy was 30 years behind the times. Definitely should be on the list of 1000 Movies To See Before You Die.
June 8, 2016
Great movie that really overextends it's welcome quite a bit I'm afraid. Malcolm Mcdowell is fabulous though as a coffee salesman who gets a little more then he bargained for when he gets assigned a new area. Alan Price's songs are amazing too. Chop it in half and I'd be happy.
January 25, 2016
long but thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. McDowell's masterpiece!
Super Reviewer
½ December 11, 2015
A young man rises to the top, falls, then slowly rises back up. A nice black comedy allegory. Very much a product of it's period of time (the 70's). Lots of surreal touches by Lindsay Anderson, but still not as well done as his film "....If".
½ July 7, 2015
An unpredictable tale that seemed like a happy version of "Clockwork Orange".
½ June 21, 2015
good rom-com/sci-fi mix
½ December 22, 2014
An erratically-rambling social commentary with surrealist turns that takes on too much and ultimately offers little more than a solid McDowell performance, a nice Alan Price score, and an insight into how ugly the 1970s was.
½ August 25, 2014
Cult British classic. Long and rambling but surreal and funny - Malcom MacDowell is so watchable.
July 24, 2014
Near-perfect semi-sequel to if.... finds Mick Travis (McDowell again) adrift in the world of adulthood. We trace his beginnings as a fresh-faced young coffee salesman through a series of misadventures, some comic, some surreal, forcing him into some painful realizations about life on the planet Earth. Based on an idea by McDowell, which David Sherwin turned into a script, O Lucky Man! is every bit the equal of if.... while being a completely different film. The tone here is darker but more overtly humorous, and laden with a subtle anguish which becomes progressively more overbearing, even up to the film's probably-sarcastic finale. The performances by the cast treat the film like a comedy, bringing a lightness of touch to even the film's grimmer moments. Anderson's dry English sense of the bizarre lends to a disorienting atmosphere ably brought to life once again by Miroslav Ondricek; the film is visually different from if.... but in its own way quite beautiful. A story of youthful idealism withered by the vagaries of life in a pathologically materialistic world, O Lucky Man is one of the quintessential 70s films.
June 18, 2014
I have always loved this film so much. Written by Malcolm McDowell just so he could work with Lindsay Anderson again, and they did work together beautifully so who can blame him. It also polarizes audiences. I've never met anybody who is lukewarm about "O Lucky Man!". It either changed your life or you though of it as self involved tripe.
February 19, 2014
You may be hard pressed to notice but this is one of the greatest films ever made.
January 8, 2014
In my top ten movies of all time list
½ September 14, 2013
Amazing that I have never seen this film b4 now . . . esp considering I have owned its great s/t album by former Animals keyboardist Alan Price since 1973. An under-appreciated film . . . more assured and more fully realized than Anderson's landmark IF . . . . I'll have to see BRITTANIA HOSPITAL, Anderson's third collaboration with Malcolm McDowell.
½ September 5, 2013
I found this film long and really quite painful, though I really wanted to like it and it's dream like nature, repeat characters (like in reality), black mirror, attacks on capitalism, drives to 'success', the true gangster nature of capitalist societies, how this has come to replace imperialism (and its similarities), the general corrupt nature of justice, the uselessness of religion, and the general "sell" con-man smile encouraged by this society..
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ July 18, 2013
"He had white horses, and ladies by the score, all dressed in satin and waiting by the door, oh, what a lucky man he was!" Man, this film is so experimental that it should have a progressive rock theme song, though if it's going to be my Emerson, Lake & Palmer, then it shouldn't be "Lucky Man", it should be "Tarkus", as it follows this film's theme of being way too blasted long. Actually, even though this film came out a couple of months before the album "Brain Salad Surgery", maybe its theme song should have been "Karn Evil 9", as that song is even longer, and plus, to make it even more fitting for this film, it's crazy enough to fit the weirdness of this "little" opus, and if you find that debatable, I wouldn't so much consider the concept to "Tarkus" about a half-armadillo-half-tank riding through a desert of rainbows so much weird as much as I would considering it [b][u]"awesome"[/u][/b] (Try and run over that, Texan)! Shoot, this film is so long as it is that maybe I shouldn't even be joking about a twenty-minute-long or thirty-minute-long credits sequence, because as much as Lindsay Anderson is into blowing this film out of proportions, such a version probably exists somewhere out there. I'm sure Alan Price, the maker of this film's original soundtrack, would also like for me to shut up about ELP, as no rock keyboardist is a fan of having Keith Emerson evoked in his or her presence... except maybe Jordan Rudess and Rick Wakeman (No, fans of theatrical showmanship, Emerson is just "one of" the greatest keyboardists ever), and I'm sure you readers would also care for me to get back to actually talking about this film, because I'm dragging about as much as this film. Seriously though, good ol' Mick Travis is back, only this time, he's been changed for the sake of another allegory that Lindsay Anderson felt like bringing up, and you can expect to see him next as a corrupt Roman Caesar in "Caligula". Forget "Britannia Hospital", because that film also features Helen Mirren alongside Malcolm McDowell and has even more edited versions and controversy than this film, only it's, from what I understand, not nearly as good, which isn't to say that this film is especially special, as it, like its length, gets dragged down by more than a few factors.

The film is a bloated study on some charismatic everyman facing a number of colorful shenanigans, yet as overlong as this film is because of filler, director Lindsay Anderson and screenwriter David Sherwin, interestingly enough, pays little attention to actually fleshing out the characters, or at least our lead Michael Arnold "Mick" Travis character, who is given no real background development, as well as sparse gradual development, thus leaving you to distance yourself a bit from this story and its lead, who is supposed to be an avatar for the viewer, but at least needs to be distinguished a little bit in order to compel for three whole hours. The limitations in expository depth try your patience a bit, though decidedly not as considerably as the limitations in atmospheric kick, because as entertaining as this film is on the whole, much of its liveliness runs on dry flavor, which is rich enough to work more often than not, but often gets to a bit too dry, quieting things down to a bland, perhaps even dull state that challenge engagement value. Pacing is hardly glacial, but the lack of momentum to Anderson's storytelling really thins out pacing to the point of making the length palpable, and let me tell you once again, this film's length probably shouldn't be felt as much as it is. At just about three hours in length, this fluffy comedy that follows nothing but extraordinary misadventures in the life of an ordinary Joe is way too blasted long, and sure, the final product proves to be engaging enough to make the three hours not too much of a pressing challenge, yet there's no getting around the fact that this film well outstays its welcome, and does so partially with repetitious material, but mostly with sheer filler, which ends up driving the narrative of the film. Needless to say, with filler being in charge of bonding the layers rather than focused and coherent substance, you end up with a collection of subplots that are intentionally jarring in their incorporation, but are still no less offputting in their plaguing focus with inconsistency that, before too long, devolved into aimlessness. The film is intentionally messy, and even if it wasn't, this type of subject matter didn't stand too great of a chance of being made into a relatively outstanding film, but you grow more and more aware of just how inconsequential things are the longer you stick with this overblown and overambitious opus, until you end up being not quite as rewarded as you might hope to be. That being said, if you're willing to go with this lengthy and incoherent ride, there will at least be one consistent aspect: enjoyment, as this film still has a lot to it to entertain just fine, particularly when musical aspects come into play.

Alan Price's score is mighty underused, and as for his relatively more recurring original songs, when they show up, they exacerbate the film's unevenness by being almost always presented through random footage of Price himself and his backing band syncing to the song in the studio in the place of actual footage of the film, so to my fellow Animal fans, I can't say that you'll be fully satisfied with this film's plays with its musical aspects, but I sure can assure you that, by their own right, the tunes in this song are thoroughly entertaining, and their incorporation colors up the film's entertainment value more than it proves to the detrimental to the film's already pretty tainted coherency. Sure, Price's score is unevenly used, and outside of decent moments in Miroslav Ondřček's cinematography, there's nothing else artistically sharp to hold you over until the soundtrack kicks back in the break up the relative quietness that backs this dry fluff piece about as much as anything, but musical aspects are ultimately worth the wait, breathing some life into entertainment value that this film is going to desperately need in order to keep you going, and delivers on adequately on paper, alone. There's little in the way of focus to this narrative that goes incoherently driven by a series of shenanigans which bond through convenience much more than consistent themes, and with such questionable areas within this story concept going emphasized by an ultimately overblown runtime to the final product, you end up with a "plot" whose engagement value is limited, but not so thin that there's not some potential for a fair bit of fun, done a fair bit of justice by highlights within David Sherwin's script, whose wit gets to be a bit too dry to consistently deliver on effective jokes, yet is generally sharply colorful, both with its humor and drawing of memorable, if a bit undercooked and over-the-top characters. Characterization is kind of sloppy in this film, but it ultimately puts together colorful components to this fluff piece that wouldn't be as enjoyable as they ultimately are without being portrayed with charisma that can be found across the board in this cast, particularly within Malcolm McDowell, whose down-to-earth charm makes him engaging as both a likable character and effective audience avatar. The performances prove to be colorful compliments to Sherwin's colorful compliments to storytelling, and as for the thematic depth of Sherwin's script, it's sometimes either too unsubtle or too subtle in the midst of over-the-top set pieces which get to lose focus after a while, but on the whole, it's about as colorfully clever as the script's humor and characterization, presenting allegories for analyses on a richly diverse, yet somewhat flawed capitalist society that not only get you thinking a bit, but add to the intrigue and entertainment value of this film. There's an inspiration to Sherwin's efforts, there's no denying that, and while it's just as difficult to deny the shortcomings in Sherwin's script, the writing for this film is fairly engaging, especially when brought to life by a certain heart to director Lindsay Anderson's efforts, which keep the dull spells from drying up too much, and makes the relatively lively spells very entertaining. If nothing else can be complimented about this film, it's a certain charm to the ambition which may be betrayed in plenty of places by questionable actions in storytelling, but ultimately proves to be endearing enough for you to kind of want to stick with this film, which makes that your investment is not totally squandered through an adequate, if still pretty disengagingly limited degree of entertainment value.

When the adventures are finally through, the final product sputters out to an underwhelming state, thanks to a lack of development, as well as an immense quantity of filler-driven dragging that carries incoherency and repetitious aimlessness, made all the more glaring by atmospheric dry spells which keep the film from picking up enough momentum to fully secure your investment throughout a three-hour runtime, which isn't to say that there's not enough lively, if unevenly used tunes, - courtesy of Alan Price - cleverness to a script by David Sherwin that delivers on witty humor, intriguing thematic depth, and colorful characterization, - done justice by many a charismatic performance - and flavor to Lindsay Anderson's direction to make "O Lucky Man!" a charming and often fairly entertaining, if exhaustingly overblown opus.

2.5/5 - Fair
April 13, 2013
A feel-good satire musical comedy starring Malcolm McDowell. A film I can watch over and over and never get tired of it. Something out of the ordinary and I love it! The songs are amazing and the acting is great!
½ December 14, 2012
Classic cinema that makes you stop, listen and learn--Strange and Interesting; Surprisingly Compelling!!
October 28, 2012
I can only give a partial review since I only watched 2/3rds of this long ass movie. First off I loved the music. Go Alan Price. Secondly I enjoyed the surreal (overused word... sorry) feeling. We need more movies nowadays that are just weird like this. And lastly I enjoyed the absence of a fluent plot. It was just a story of an ambitious guy trying to make it from scene to scene. A young McDowell is always great. As for bad... it's a long ass movie!

2008 Movies: 125
October 6, 2012
The postmodern turn hit the big screen.
September 9, 2012
Awesome surreal satire. One of McDowell's finest.
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