Movie Review: ‘Lowlife’

Review by James Lindorf

A Luchador full of rage and a massive inferiority complex, an ex-con with an unfortunate tattoo, and a woman in search of a kidney to save her husband collide in this over the top nonlinear adrenaline rush. The three storylines become one when their individual dealings with Teddy “Bear” Haynes, an organ harvester, set the characters on a collision path. This story of three downtrodden Los Angelenos from first-time director, Ryan Prows, will be available in select theaters on April 6th. Check the film’s website to see if it is coming to a city near you.

Prows tells his story in four parts. Each of the first three is a different point of view for one of the main characters. It’s where we get to learn about their past, their mistakes and what is driving them forward. Each person is haunted by the past in one form or another, whether it leaves them feeling inadequate or shamed over a past mistake or addiction. The fourth segment, is when the stories combine and the three are left to decide what kind of person they really are. Everyone had a different level of involvement with Teddy and a differing desire to be a part of the film’s conclusion. That combination gave the story a more organic feeling than if they came together like the Musketeers.

The Luchador, El Monstruo, was my least favorite of the three main characters. He had some comedic moments, but his obsession with the past and with legacy was more one-note than the other two. Crystal and Randy could easily have had a movie focused solely on them. Randy was my favorite character in the film. His mix of humor and absurdity really appealed to me. However, it is Crystal that has the most compelling story. She’s a recovering addict with a dying husband, the owner and only employee at a rundown motel, and harbors decades’ worth of guilt over giving up her only child.

The film was of a lower budget but well executed overall. It had good (but not great) gore and action. It was the casting and some smart sound design that impressed me. It was told nonlinear, but not in a fast-paced kind of way. It wasn’t until about 30 minutes into the movie that I even realized the stories were happening simultaneously. Prows may not be the next Nolan or Tarantino, but he is a young director that showed a lot of promise and I would love to see what kind of characters he comes up with next.

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