The Lucky Ones

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The Lucky Ones
Review (-/10)
(By Paul Fischer)

Directed by Neil Burger ("The Illusionist"), here's a film that one thinks is about Iraq [yawn] but evolves into something fresh and funny. After suffering an injury during a routine patrol, hardened sergeant TK Poole [Michael Pena] is granted a one-month leave to visit his fiancée.

However, when an unexpected blackout cancels all flights out of New York, TK agrees to share a ride to Pittsburgh with two similarly stranded servicemen: Cheaver, [Tim Robbins] an older family man who longs to return to his wife in St. Louis, and Colee, [Rachel McAdams] a naive private who has pinned her hopes on connecting with a dead fellow soldier's family.

What begins as a short trip unexpectedly evolves into a longer journey. Forced to grapple with old relationships, broken hopes and a country divided over the war, TK, Cheaver and Colee discover that home is not quite what they remembered, and that the unlikely companionship they've found might be what matters the most.

"The Lucky Ones" is a film that explores family and relationships, sexuality and one's priorities in a life turned upside down amidst the chaos of war. Yet at the same time, thanks to a razor-sharp script by director Burger and Dirk Wittenborn, this cinematic road trip is not only a truly exquisite character study and a densely thematic piece, but it is surprisingly hilarious, with the humour derived from a realistic sense of character.

"The Lucky Ones" does of course examine the Iraq war, but never hits you over the head with simplistic political diatribes. More importantly, here is a film that blends and weaves into many facets of human behaviour, and done with humour and emotional honesty. The film's trio of actors is consistently sublime. Robbins is beautifully understated, while McAdams is a revelation here, breathtakingly and disarmingly funny.

Superbly directed by Burger and beautifully shot in a vast array of locations that serve to further heighten the film's themes, "The Lucky Ones" is a richly entertaining film and one that works on so many fascinating levels.

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