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By Don R. Lewis | March 16, 2004

Apparently for Canadians, the 1972 Soviet-Canada hockey series is one of the biggest events in that country’s history. I wouldn’t know as I’m not Canadian, but I’ll take the film’s word for it. “Luck,” which is centered around this infamous showdown, tells the tale of Shane Bradley (Kirby) and his yearnings for his dream girl Margaret (Polley). When those yearnings don’t pan out, Shane opts to compensate for his broken heart by embarking on a wave of gambling that soon finds him deep, deep in the hole.

“Luck” takes a while to get rolling but when it does, the tension is nearly unbearable. You find yourself totally sucked into Shane’s ups and downs and downs..and further downs until it feels like you’re almost next to him at the tables and the race track.

What works so well here, besides the spot-on script, is Luke Kirby’s performance as a totally likeable dunce who only has himself to blame for all of his woes. In fact all the performances in the film are terrific and each character is really well defined. But Shane is someone we all want to see pull himself out of the mess he’s created and walk off into the Canadian sunset with Margaret.

Until the closing credits, you never know what’s going to happen. The twists and turns in “Luck” are similar to gambling itself- one second thrilling and the next, crushing. However they also ring true of life and how things don’t always end up the way you think they will. Without sounding too cheesy, life is full of gambles and that’s the subtext of “Luck.” If you don’t gamble, you’re not giving yourself a chance to win.

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