It’s not exactly a revelation that money can have a corrupting influence, but that doesn’t diminish the twisted fun of Your Lucky Day. The story begins simply, with drug dealer Sterling (Angus Cloud) walking into a convenience store. Inside are Ana Marlene (Jessica Garza) and Abraham (Elliot Knight), a young couple expecting their first baby; a cop named Cody (Sterling Beaumon); store clerk Amir (Mousa Hussein Kraish); and a customer, Mr. Laird (Spencer Garrett).
Laird checks his lottery ticket and discovers he’s got all the numbers. That means he’s just won $156 million. He announces his joy a little too loudly, causing Sterling to point a gun in his face and demand the ticket. Spoiling what happens next wouldn’t be right. Instead, I’ll simply say that everyone in that store starts seeing dollar signs, leading to a series of bad choices all the way around, as well as a flood of unpleasant repercussions for those choices.
Since the whole film takes place inside the store, writer/director Dan Brown has to continually devise new layers of suspense. He does that well. Characters do things we don’t expect, causing us to see them in different ways and, at times, switch who our allegiance is to. Clever complications also keep the plot lively, including a very unexpected twist about 25 minutes in. Whenever you think the movie is going to paint itself into a corner, something happens that spins it off in another direction.
Strong performances add to the tension. The late Angus Cloud is phenomenal, fully embodying the unpredictable, yet still empathetic Sterling. He exudes a tidal wave of charisma. Jessica Garza is the other standout. Ana Marlene probably has the biggest transformation over the course of the film, and the actress makes that credible at every turn.
Your Lucky Day has a few moments that are a bit far-fetched, not that it matters a whole lot when the movie is so briskly paced and engrossing. Best of all, unlike some indie crime thrillers, you won’t be able to guess the ending in advance. Nobody is safe and nothing is off the table. That’s an enormously satisfying quality.
out of four
Your Lucky Day is rated R for strong violence, language throughout, and some sexual material/graphic nudity. The running time is 1 hour and 30 minutes.