[New York Independent Film Festival] Short Films: Lucky Day

Currently making the festival rounds is the short crime thriller Lucky Day, from writer and director Hyo Jin An. This decidedly New York short film blends together a thriller like Collateral with the taxi driver tales contained in Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth. The end result is an effective thriller that stands out for its portrayal of a New York City immigrant taxi driver.

Ali is an immigrant looking to live the American dream, supporting his family by driving a cab. Just trying to do his job, Ali ends up crossing paths with a pair of crooked cops and a shady businessman with a gun and a briefcase full of cash.

Nighttime in New York City serves as the perfect backdrop for this sordid tale, showing the beauty and unexpected danger that exists in the city. Hyo Jin An shows that he knows how to use the city as an extra cast member, much like other directors have done in past. He also does a fine job of incorporating the natural sounds that you come to expect in a busy city, opting for a traditional score only when necessary.

Ashok Chaudhary is good as the immigrant taxi driver Ali, who is both believable and compassionate as his character is placed in this terrible predicament. It’s nice to see a role given to an Indian actor, even if it’s just in a short film. For as realistic Chaudhary is, Thomas F. Walsh comes off as the stereotypical mafia style gangster.

Despite the stereotyped mafia role, Lucky Day is still an effective crime thriller that features a non-white actor in a prominent role, while also showcasing New York City.

Lucky Day will screen at the NYCIFF on May 10th.

-Raul Vantassle