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Lowlife Blu-ray Review

“Lowlife” has tonal issues.

Directed by Ryan Prows and written by Ryan Prows, Maxwell Michael Towson, Tim Cairo, Jack Gibson, and Shaye Ogbonna (yes, 5 writers are credited), “Lowlife” is an indie crime-dramedy told in an anthological fashion via 4 interconnected chapters. The main players in this L.A. set tale are a failed Luchador named El Monstruo (who comes from a long line of Luchadors) that has become a henchman for a crime lord named Teddy (who sells organs and runs a prostitution ring), a motel owner named Crystal and her drunk husband Dan who needs a new kidney, 2 criminals (Keith and the fresh out of prison Randy) and the pregnant Kaylee who is the birth child of Dan and Crystal, but was sold to Teddy who pimped her out. Kaylee is also carrying the baby of El Monstruo and is set to be the kidney donor for Dan. Did you get all that? Good. Now, how does it all play out in the end? That would be telling.

Despite clearly owing a lot to “Pulp Fiction” in terms of its storytelling style, “Lowlife” manages to be less of a Pulp wannabe and more of its own movie thankfully. It’s a strange film to be sure with its blend of violence, comedy, dysfunctional family elements, and dark drama. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a tonal mess as the drama is often too self-serious. While oddball comedy is present, it’s not quite as present as it should be as the movie leads to its death filled conclusion. 

“Lowlife” is also hampered by a strange pace that makes the 96 minute movie feel longer than it is. Usually this is due to an overabundance of filler, but that’s not the case here. Perhaps the shifts in tone slow the movie down? Who is to say?

The cast is largely comprised of unknowns (with the exception of Mark Burnham and Nicki Micheaux), but everyone is supremely well cast here. The aforementioned Burnham and Micheaux turn in quality performances as Teddy and Crystal respectively, but it’s Ricardo Adam Zarate (El Monstruo) and Jose Rosete (Randy) who steal the show here.


Presentation: 2.40:1 1080p. Grade: A-

Audio Track: 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD MA. Grade: A-

* Theatrical trailer along with other IFC Midnight trailers
* 3 short films titled “Fiends,” “Thugs,” and “Monsters.”
* A very short3 minute making-of featurette.
* 2 commentary tracks. One by director/writer Ryan Prows and cinematographer Benjamin Kitchens and the other by Ryan Prows and co-writers Tim Cairo, Jack Gibson, and Shaye Ogbonna.

January 17, 2023 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | ,

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