Your Lucky Day review: Angus Cloud is superb in twisted tale of the American Dream gone bad

Chris Tilly
The cast of Your Lucky Day.

Your Lucky Day is a tense, taut thriller that features one of the last performances by Euphoria star Angus Cloud before he sadly passed away. But the film is a testament to his talent, the actor delivering a powerhouse performance in this explosive drama.

Your Lucky Day plays out in pretty much a single location, where the prospect of a large windfall of money makes good people do bad things. And bad people do even worse.

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In that respect, it follows in the footsteps of celluloid classic The Treasure of Sierra Madre. Or more recent entries in that sub-genre like Shallow Grave or a Simple Plan.

But the movies Your Lucky Day most resembles are modern examinations of financial inequality like Cheap Thrills and Uncut Gems. Films that see seemingly normal people go to abnormal extremes for a quick buck. Or to secure their piece of the American Dream.

What is Your Lucky Day about?

Your Lucky Day admits as much by pasting the words ‘Based on the American Dream’ onscreen when proceedings commence. Though as they progress, it becomes clear that said statement is somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

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It’s Christmas Eve, and the location is a ‘Sip N Go’ corner store where owner Amir is waiting for his brother to arrive and help out. A cop called Cody enters to use the bathroom. A couple – Abraham and Ana-Marlene – are picking ice-cream to satisfy her pregnancy pangs. And a drug dealer called Sterling stops by to grab a drink and look at a porn mag.

Another customer – Mr. Laird – calls in to purchase a lottery ticket. He’s got a big mouth and some questionable opinions on race, but in spite of his shortcomings, Laird wins the Megaball contest. And wins big, the ticket pocketing him a cool $156 million.

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Which is when Laird’s problems begin. Because Sterling has just been robbed, in the film’s opening scene. And decides to pay it forward – so-to-speak – by robbing Laird. He tapes the magazine to his face. Pulls a gun. Voices are raised. Which alert the cop. Who pulls his gun. And then all hell breaks loose.

Making a deal with the devil

The stand-off ends with two people dead, and Sterling holding the winning ticket. But the dealer hasn’t thought this through. And can’s see the big picture.

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As Amir points out, Sterling can’t just walk off into the sunset with the money, as the ticket is tied to the store. Where two dead bodies presently lie on the ground.

What follows is a conversation, that turns into a debate, then an argument, that eventually becomes a negotiation. Sterling makes them an offer – work with him to make the situation right, and they can share the winnings.

It’s a fascinating back-and-forth, about their divergent financial situations, about the difference between right and wrong, and as Sterling so simply puts it, about whether it’s “better to be lucky than good.”

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Voice of reason becomes criminal mastermind

Ana-Marlene is the champion of right, and the voice of reason. But the idea of all that money does funny things to a person, and soon she’s masterminding their way out of the mini-mart with the many millions. And these interactions with Sterling – about what to do, and how to do it – are electric.

But then the movie makes a wrong turn, involving outsiders getting a whiff of what’s happening inside the store. And deciding they want a piece of the action too.

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What follows turns a story that’s hitherto convincing, into something a little more far-fetched. Which breaks the spell of believability which had been working so well in the film’s favour. That said, before it fully goes off the rails, Your Lucky Day manages to get back on track, for a satisfying – if still slightly improbable – conclusion.

Angus Cloud shines as drug dealer Cody

Based on his own 2010 short film of the same name, writer-director Dan Brown oversees proceedings with a sure hand, wringing every drop of suspense out of the intriguing premise.

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He’s also cast the film superbly, with Jessica Garza lighting up the screen as Ana-Marlene, and Spencer Garrett stealing his scene as Laird.

But the film belongs to Angus Cloud, who very sadly passed away in July. Sterling is intense, engaging, and unpredictable, and Cloud makes him likeable in spite of the awful things he does. So-much-so that when the credits roll, it’s his performance you’ll be thinking about.

The Verdict: Is Your Lucky Day good?

Your Lucky Day is a solid thriller with a grim streak of nihilism. The film has smart things to say about financial disparity in the States, and the ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots. It also makes clumsy – but no less valid – points about police corruption and brutality.

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The dialogue crackles with wit. While when violence erupts, it’s sudden, brutal, and savage, which makes it feel all-too-real. And though there are times the film feel like a short stretched over 90-minutes, when it works, Your Lucky Day is both exhilarating, and gut-wrenching.

Your Lucky Day score: 3/5

In one of his final performances, Angus Cloud shines in a tale of poverty, greed, violence, and the dark side of the American Dream.

Your Lucky Day premiered at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas – there’s no word yet on a release date.

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About The Author

Chris Tilly is the TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He has a BA in English Literature, an MA in Newspaper Journalism, and over the last 20 years, he's worked for the likes of Time Out, IGN, and Fandom. Chris loves Star Wars, Marvel, DC, sci-fi, and especially horror, while he knows maybe too much about Alan Partridge. You can email him here: chris.tilly@dexerto.com.