Its 2012 and Zac Efron is older and wiser. Now trying to leave the horrific High School Musical persona in the past, his eyes are on the future. The Lucky One is the key to showing any doubters, myself included, that he is far more capable of producing a worthy feature film than previously thought. Apologies Mr. Efron I retract all negative comments from the past couple of years.
The Lucky One is based on the Nicolas Sparks novel, focusing on a Marine, Logan Thibault (Efron) and his enlightening experience on his third tour of duty. Tour number three is taking its toll mentally and physically, until the day he discovers a photo of a women at a lighthouse in the rubble. As he moves to pick it up he narrowly escapes death. When this occurs on various other missions, Logan starts to believe the photo contains his lady luck.
Cut to the return home, feeling unsettled Logan concludes his past can only be dealt with once he has thanked the mysterious women in the picture. With this running through his head and heart he hits the road with his right hand dog, Zeus. Crossing approximately 1,250 miles to Louisiana together. One hard feat let me tell you that.
Once reaching the lighthouse in the picture, he begins to ask around to see if anyone knows this women. He eventually ends up at The Green Kennel, a dog home and training business that the ‘mystery’ lady runs with her Gran. Her name is Beth Green (Taylor Schilling) and on meeting Logan, she becomes instantly weary of him. His manner is standoffish, abrupt and careful, a Marine through and through, which she soon senses. However despite her misgivings her Gran soon hires him as help. Realising the boy works like a machine, the family of three recognize his handy to have around to work and to interact with her young son Ben. It doesn’t hurt that his attractive too. Soon Beth sees life has a funny way of flipping everything on its head, making the unexpected reality, which is the ultimate meaning behind The Lucky One.
In The Lucky One Sparks wanted to demonstrate that life has a way of making things happen, whether these occurrences be good or bad. It toys with the idea of fate and if things really do happen for a reason. Posing the question is life mapped out? Do the people we meet or events that occur, only do so by co-incidence? A question that can never really be answered but Scott Hicks (Director) wanted to bring this to life visually.
Looking at The Lucky One from a cinematographer’s point of view, the setting was beautiful. Despite being based in Louisiana all the filming took place in North Carolina and now I know why. A prettier setting cannot have been found. The shots of the forests coloured in reds, oranges, yellows and greens with large weeping willows, are synonymous with the South. The idyllic location engrossed the audience as well as the acting.
It is more noticeable now than ever before, that Zac Efron has grown up here in The Lucky One. Finally I have been able to see him in a favourable light rather than a twitty teen. Logan, his character, is a Marine, and Marine’s live life in a certain way. A way that 90% of the population wouldn’t understand nor mimic. To ‘become’ one successfully, and respectfully is a challenge Efron succeeded in, although it would have been interesting to delve further into his psyche. Taking on a physically demanding role is one thing but to internalise the feelings of Marine, after interacting with them is another. Throughout the film it feels as though he is a tightly wound coil, slowly unravelling after meeting Beth. With a little charm, and guts Efron does justice to a sensitive role.
Taylor Schilling is not to be ignored either in the The Lucky One. Despite the smiling surface the character Beth presents, cracks soon begin to appear. Schilling plays the character with the right amount of pain and wariness to make her interesting to watch. Nonetheless I still felt that both actors needed to delve a bit deeper to bring the story to life. I would have liked to have seen more of Thibault’s past as a Marine to see that Zac Efron really understands the part he is playing. Despite that comment, Schilling and Efron have chemistry on screen that makes their angst and love credible. You will find yourself routing for them to come out unscathed at the other end.