Delightful it almost every way, Lucky Louie will charm its way into your heart.
The mystery behind an old bank robbery inspires a group to recreate the original event to solve the mystery.
A group of reformed ex-cons meet weekly for a Bible study in a cafe where they delve into the Word, but also into the pet project of one of their own, who is a retired cop. Wilbert (Basil Hoffman in his final role) is the persistent ex-cop who sort of shepherds the rest of the group in prayer, and ever since he joined the force in 1974 he’s never let go of his obsession of the infamous, unsolved Donald Duck bank robbery of 1972 which has niggled at his soul ever since. The Donald Duck robbery involved a group of masked bank robbers who stole close to a half a million bucks in cash, and the only clues as to their identities, according to witnesses at the time, were that they called each other by the code names Uncle Donald, Hewey, Dewey, and Louie, all characters from the old Donald Duck cartoons. The group didn’t know who each other were, and while several of the group members were apprehended and arrested later on, two remained at large, with the ring leader Uncle Donald, making off with all the cash, never to be seen or heard from since. Wilbert’s prayer group – including Hitch (Dan Roebuck, this movie’s co-writer and co-director), magician Payton (Duane Whitaker), Pete (Willard E. Pugh), youngster Lincoln (Patrick Voss Davis), and newcomer Alex (Madelyn Dundon) who is also an aspiring law enforcement officer – all become inspired to help Wilbert solve the decades-old mystery after Wilbert becomes ill and spends time at a hospital. They rally the troops and get the whole town to commit to allowing them to recreate the robbery as it has been documented and even using old surveillance footage of the incident, which gets the media interested in the events, and when they go through the exact motions and involve even the original witnesses, suddenly some new observations and evidence is unearthed, allowing Wilbert and young whippersnapper Alex to finally connect the missing links to the rest of the puzzle.
From stalwart and versatile character actor Dan Roebuck and his daughter Gracie, who co-wrote and directed alongside her father, Lucky Louie is a lark of a caper film with a heart of gold. With a deliberately laconic pace and a cerebral approach to telling its story, the film reveals itself to be a film about grace, mercy, forgiveness, and persistence as it pertains to one’s own place in the world. It worked for me on a lot of levels, and by the time it was over it almost brought tears to my eyes with its perfectly balanced themes that are invaluable and precious, especially in this jaded and hardened world we’re living in. It has a light tone with some excellent character performances, particularly by its leading actor Basil Hoffman, whose last film this was. Hoffman had been an extremely busy character actor for decades, but he’d never had a central role this large before, and the film is a real tribute to his talents and screen presence, and it serves as a perfect send-off for him. Delightful it almost every way, Lucky Louie will charm its way into your heart.