Qang is a Vietnamese refugee, whose American dream materializes in the form of $22 million while working the floors of a meatpacking factory; James is a sheltered outcast living with his team of cats in a litter strewn bungalow, before chance pays him a multi-million dollar hand.Written by
Edinburgh International Film Festival
The boat Quang escaped in from Vietnam had the markings VB-225 on it. One of his new houses had the street number 2555. See more »
Big bucks, many whammies, where to stop?
One type of documentary I've always wanted to see get made would be a person who goes around different states, playing different state lottery tickets (by this I mean scratch-offs), and trying his luck and attempting to win big. Along the way, interviews with gas stations attendants, lottery players, and maybe even a history lesson of the gambling game itself.
But due to the sketchy concept, and the limited market, my fantasy will have to remain one for a little while longer. For now, the documentary Lucky focuses on multiple lottery winners who have won prizes from $5.5 million to over one-hundred million. The film talks to these people one on one, and sometimes, it goes to people who just play the lottery for the excitement and anticipation that one day they will walk away richer than ever.
The concept is executed well, but not well enough here. It seems the film only wanted to center around the positive aspects of the game. Never do we really get into the desperation, the fear, and sometimes even the suicides that have happened because of the sudden change from rags to riches. Many have almost been killed because of the game. It's a dangerous thing to win the lottery whether it brings blessing or frustration.
Another aggravating thing about Lucky is that some people that the filmmakers chose to interview are the biggest Christians in the book. Nothing annoys me more than people who can't credit themselves for something good that happened, but credit God as if He himself walked into a 7/11 or a Phillips 66 and played the numbers. It's people like this that are literally simple-minded - regardless of their beliefs. Bottom line; practice your religion to your liking, but when something good happens to you that you made the effort to do, don't thank God, thank yourself.
Aside from that, Lucky is engaging, informative, and interesting. All without being pushy or a work of propaganda. While it does shade them some things and push others out of the spotlight, the topics it covers, like the rags to riches life of a few people in this film, are made with true outlook and sympathy. At no point does this documentary share its own views. It's not-biased, wholly original, incredibly entertaining, and lacking any remote point of view.
Jeffrey Blitz, director of Spellbound, gives the lottery the spelling bee treatment by showing you the reality of it. When we see the spelling bee on TV, or the lottery at the store, many of us don't turn to notice it. We simply ignore it. Lucky doesn't persuade or force you to know everything - it just wants you to be aware of the situation upon us. It doesn't tell you what to believe or support, it leaves that part up to you. A formula far too many political documentaries don't practice.
Starring: Steve Ledoux. Directed by: Jeffrey Blitz.
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