The darkest stories of the human experience often revolve around money. Wealth often forces people to compromise their values and morals. Yet, sometimes, our fight for survival coincides with our financial worries. In the case of Your Lucky Day, the feature film debut of Daniel Brown, one Christmas Eve turns into a bloodbath. With some brilliant performances and a claustrophobic setting, Your Lucky Day questions how far you will go to save yourself.
One night at a convenience store, uber-wealthy Mr. Laird (Spencer Garrett) wins the lottery with a $156 million ticket. However, his celebration alerts the entire store to his newfound fortune. Sterling (Angus Cloud) attempts to hold him up for the ticket, which causes the cop (Sterling Beaumon) in the back of the store to open fire. The resulting shootout kills Laird and seemingly kills the officer. Those remaining in the store include Sterling, the owner Amir (Mousa Hussien Kraish), and a pregnant couple (Elliott Knight & Jessica Garza). The group must figure out a way forward with millions of dollars on the line.
Brown’s convergence of events makes for a soup of intrigue and tension. Each person in the store is fully fleshed out over the runtime. Most of this comes through simple interpersonal conversation, but there are enough moments that rely on previous relationships that we get a full view of most of our cast.
Garza gets to showcase the most range with her character, and as a result, she feels like the breakout performance from Your Lucky Day. She gets a chance to key into the pathos and survival instinct, quickly shifting her allegiances as the situation evolves. It’s not unlike an Ellen Ripley or Katniss Everdeen role, despite its real-world setting. Garza brings out the fight and determination in the role, while keeping us on her side the entire film.
Cloud’s final performance hangs over Your Lucky Day, which showcases his alluring on-screen presence. He shifts between the dark realities of his character and the empathetic man beaten down by life. While not a good man, the path to this moment becomes clear. Cloud once again showcases his talent, which made him among Hollywood’s most alluring young talents. Throughout Your Lucky Day, you wonder what might have been. Brown gets the most out of the performance, allowing it to stand apart from his Euphoria role.
Brown excels when relying on the screenplay, but visually, Your Lucky Day feels stunted. The focus on the camera does not play to a throwback feel enough, even though it feels like Brown’s film could have been set in 1998. At the same time, the digital photography looks less than refined, leaving the audience in a weird limbo. This likely comes from a tighter budget, but unfortunately, it stops the film from reaching its full potential.
While the visuals could have used some additional polish, the story occasionally tips into being overly convenient. Even so, Your Lucky Day succeeds where many other thrillers do not. Brown effectively builds the claustrophobic world of the store and lets the characters shine. It’s a promising flick for the director, who may find more opportunities awaiting him with the ability to draw a tight thriller like this one.