SOMETIMES art and life can mirror each other in poetic or hauntings ways.

Take John Carroll Lynch’s directorial debut, Lucky.

It is about a 90-year-old man coming to the realisation and acceptance that he is close to the end of his life. Alien's Harry Dean Stanton plays the titular character which aired in the US just days after his death.

This gives the film more impact and poignancy, not least because of a powerful performance by Stanton which stirs the soul.

He portrays a US Navy veteran who is lonely, cantankerous and set in routine but is well loved in his small community in Arizona and is otherwise in great shape for a man of his age.

But his routine is interrupted when he collapses at home and, having out-lived all of his contemporaries, he reluctantly begins to accept his inevitable decline. This is even harder for Stanton's old-timer because he is an atheist and has no family to lean on. John Carroll Lynch gives the film a dusty, sun-bleached, western aesthetic and the scenery almost becomes a character in itself as Lucky begins to walk and reflect in equal measure.

It is the kind of story that you cannot help but be moved by because old age and death – and the things we fear in between like poor health and the loss of our independence – are universal themes and you end up applying it to your own life and family.

What follows is Lucky carrying on his routine but with an added layer of existential dread.

His conversations with the motley crew he shares a diner and bar with become quiet reflections on life and death, occasionally through a veil of euphemisms.

But gentle humour permeates those scenes throughout and they are never heavy handed or emotionally manipulative.

And by the end of the film you are somehow uplifted – ready to smile into 'the void' like Lucky as he accepts that life will go on without him. Lynch shows real strength and restraint in the director's chair, allowing his remarkable leading man – who died aged 91 – to shine.

Lucky is a little reminiscent of Alexander Payne's Nebraska, another very character-led story about an ageing father's trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son.

But the actor-turned-filmmaker has had many directing mentors to inspire him like the Coen brothers, David Fincher, Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese. So it will be fascinating to see what he does next.

RATING: 8/10


n Lucky will be at Home in Manchester from Friday