Lucky Bastard Film Review - an Official Selection of OUTFest 2009

Rusty ( Patrick Tatten) has a great life, even if he doesn’t appreciate it. He has Daniel ( Johnny Kostery), a thoughtful sensitive boyfriend who wants them to live together. He shares a great business with a Garrett ( Timothy Cole), a long time friend doing high end home restorations. He lives in a hotel, by choice, presumably because he is afraid of commitment of any kind.  Both he and his car look pretty hot. In fact, it seems as though his professional and his personal lives are on the rise. So why is Rusty so complacent about his life?

Dale Dymkoski is Denny in "Lucky Bastard"

He joie de vive is stirred when he hooks up with mysterious, hunky Denny ( Dale Dymkoski) who meanders in a convenience store. Suddenly, Rusty is in love and feels alive and wants to save the wild and reckless Denny from himself and the world. And he has come to this conclusion after only one night. Denny however, seems to be dead set on his drug-ridden road to self destruction. Even though Denny slowly comes to have feelings for Rusty, will it be enough to change his reckless ways.

This film, for me, the first disappointment of OUTFest 2009 so far. The main character’s emotional journey is largely interior. So not only do we never get to really know him, but his actions and motivations are indiscernible, abrupt and frankly unbelievable. Lucky Bastard director Everett Lewis tries to give the audience an atypical gay anti-hero, but only succeeds in creating a two dimensional personae. We don’t really care about Rusty - for good or for ill - because the filmmaker had not given us a reason to either way.

The filmmaker picked the wrong protagonist to feature. Dale Dymkoski in the role of Denny had some true lovely moments. His desperate duplicity was heartbreaking opposite Patrick Tatten’s flatline performance. We knew what Denny struggled with, we sympathized with him and we knew he was already beyond redemption. Denny is the character that has a complete journey in the film. Even if Denny’s journey lead him back to the same place he started, it was far more interesting to watch than the character of Rusty. Kudos also to Timothy Cole for carving out a few scraps of comedy from stuff poorly written material.

Lucky Bastard also benefits from a thoughtful, melancholy score by William V. Malpede. Malpede’s gentle soundscape of sonatas and lullabies is rich and evocative, creating a wonderful, and badly need point of emotional entry for the audience. Well done.

Lucky Bastard is an official selection of OUTFest 2009 happening now at the DGA and surrounding theatres now through July 19, 2009.

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