DIR: Scott Hicks • WRI: Will Fetters • PRO: Denise Di Novi, Kevin McCormick • DOP: Alar Kivilo • ED: Scott Gray • DES: Barbara Ling • Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Jay R. Ferguson
The Lucky One is the latest film adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel. To those not familiar with his work he has previously brought us the Notebook, A Walk to Remember and The Last Song. The world of Nicholas Sparks has a warm glow to it; it has warm friendly characters, beautiful scenery and romantic storylines. It is the definition of escapist cinema.
The Lucky One begins far from this world where we meet Logan Thibault (Zac Efron), a marine serving his third tour in the Iraq war. He discovers a photo of a woman in the rubble of the battlefield which he holds on to. He believes that this photo brings him luck as he survives this terrible war when others do not. When Logan returns home he decides to try and find this woman in order to thank her for her silent protection. Walking from Colardo to North Carolina, Logan starts working in the dog training school this woman, Beth (Taylor Schilling) owns with her grandmother (Blythe Danner) and son (Riley Thomas Stewart) and finds himself immersing into their life while keeping his secret.
Zac Efron is still in the process of transistioning from a child star into a respected actor, in this film he tackles the serious issues of post-traumatic stress disorder and the effects of a modern war on the soldiers it leaves behind. Efron handles the subject matter well, we see the torture behind his eyes and his fragility with people. His story is about destiny and finding your own place in the world. The inevitable love affair between Logan and Beth bring us back to familiar Spark’s territory with the couple spending time in the breathtaking scenery of North Carolina’s countryside. They fall in love in the warmth and glow of the south with a gentle music soundtrack adding to their romance.
Praise has to be given to the director Scott Hicks, who has a background in photography, for creating this atmosphere. Taylor Schilling is adequate as Efron’s love interest, but his performance stands out from the crowd. Beth’s ex-husband (Jay R. Ferguson) creates the dramatic tension in the film with his edgy performance as the conflict to Logan and Beth’s romance. For fans of Spark’s work this is another enjoyable film to add to the collection, its leads lack the romantic chemistry of the stars of The Notebook, however Efron’s performance and a surprisingly dramatic ending make for a very enjoyable film.
Ailbhe O’ Reilly
Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)
The Lucky One is released on 4th May 2012