IT’S been almost a year to the day since brilliant veteran character actor Harry Dean Stanton passed away. In one of his final performances of a career spanning more than six decades and 200 roles, Stanton commands attention as Lucky, a weathered, cantankerous nonagenarian who is almost a walking part of the landscape that he inhabits, coming to terms as a staunch atheist with his own mortality.

Less plot-driven than just about any film you’re likely to find all year, it moves at its own elegant tortoise pace to painting an endearing portrait of a life at an age you just don’t see in films, especially as the main character. It evokes the work of Jim Jarmusch in how it eschews major eventfulness in favour of just taking normal life as it comes.

Stanton is the perfect actor to play this role; hilarious, uplifting, difficult, heart-breaking and inspiring all at once with a persona that feels clothed by his real self. You feel the weight of a life well and truly lived.

The debut from actor-turned-director John Carroll Lynch feels lived-in and authentic, the kind of film where the sound of Johnny Cash and a harmonica on the soundtrack just feels right. It’s soulful and charming, full of great little funny lines and nuggets of worldly wisdom nestled in the film’s everyday conversational dialogue, whether it’s a succinctly brutal takedown of Deal Or No Deal as a game show concept or a speech about a fear of loneliness in the universe.

Stanton is surrounded by a great roster of character actors, from Ron Livingston to Tom Skerritt, whom he meets as he travels around town. David Lynch, Stanton’s friend and frequent collaborator, also makes a funny and touching appearance as an acquaintance complaining that his pet tortoise has escaped.

But it’s Stanton’s film and he’s the anchor of this gentle, richly rewarding character drama with a raw power that really draws you in, with a quietly devastating emotional impact.

A wonderful and fitting goodbye for an incomparable actor.