Fantasia International Film Festival

Fantasia 2017 ‘Lowlife’ – movie review

Teddy ‘Bear’ Haynes (Mark Burnham) takes his frustrations out with some choice weapons

Shown recently at the Fantasia Film Festival and directed by Ryan Prows, LOWLIFE is a hard-hitting and at times shocking crime drama that grips hard with its intensity.

The film centres on a group of small-time criminals whose lives collide when a human organ harvesting venture goes wrong. The group includes figures from strikingly different walks of life, including a Mexican wrestler with serious anger management problems, an alcoholic Motel manager, a seemingly straight-laced accountant, a fearsome crime boss, a pregnant heroin addict and an ex convict with an extremely prominent swastika tattoo.

The film shifts back and forth through the plot’s timeline and also between different character’s viewpoints, but puts the viewer on street-level, right in the middle of the action, which anchors us to the plot, allowing us to become engrossed in a wild tale that could otherwise become baffling. It also somehow manages to juggle black comedy, stomach churning gore and adrenaline fuelled action in a way that feels vital and natural. This is down to skilful direction, an attention grabbing score, great practical effects and superb characterisation.

LOWLIFE has an inescapable feeling of being a cult hit, and its relentless in your face presentation is highly appealing. Crime never felt so good.

4 /5

LOWLIFE is directed by Ryan Prows and stars Ricardo Adam Zarate, Nicki Micheaux and Jon Oswald.


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