By: Movie Snurb (Two Beers) –
Lowriders follows the story of Danny (Gabriel Chavarria), a twenty something graffiti artist who thinks that trying to make money on your art is a foreign concept; he’d rather put up his art for free around Los Angeles. Miguel (Demian Bichir) is his father who loves everything lowriders. He has an auto body shop where he is building his prized possession “Green Poison” to enter in the big Lowrider competition where the winner receives 10,000 dollars and is revered as a king in the lowrider world. Danny’s brother Francisco AKA “Ghost” (Theo Rossi) just got out of prison and he hates his father Miguel. He attempts to steer Danny away from their father and beat him in the big lowrider competition. It’s a stirring family drama interwoven in lowrider culture.
The acting is stellar in this drama from everyone from Bichir, to Chavarria, to Danny’s girlfriend Lorelai (Melissa Benoist, Supergirl). She becomes almost unrecognizable in this role as the artist hipster girlfriend. She helps Danny see that he can still be a serious artist and make money. Eva Longoria plays Miguel’s wife and she is actually outshined in this film by Damien Bichir and Theo Rossi. Rossi is the true star of this film. He is far different than his character Juice in Sons of Anarchy. In here he is much more frightening, he has a commanding presence on screen. He’s able to convey that the people around him respect him, but there is a little fear with that respect. Even in his scenes with Bichir he demands the camera and the audience’s attention. He could be a serious talent for years to come.
This is Ricaro de Montreuil’s first English film. I think he does a brilliant job with his first English film. You can tell he has talent and knows how to use it. You can also tell Montreuil has a deep passion for lowriders, and that detail and knowledge is what makes this film rise above mediocrity. I’d like to take a moment to thank Hollywood for giving this to an appropriate director who knows the material instead of using the lowrider culture as a backdrop to just mask the fact that this is a drama we’ve seen before. Montreuil uses his knowledge and passion to intertwine the lowrider culture into the story. You can really tell this love for the cars during the scenes of the meet ups. At times the cars are the most beautiful thing in this film, one that includes Melissa Benoist, Eva Longoria, and Theo Rossi.
The pacing is genius; some might say that the film feels slow, but I believe that is intended. Ricardo de Montreuil paces the film as if we’re riding in a low-riding Chevy Impala. The film burns with a slow pace, but it never seems to drag. Montreuil uses brilliant storytelling, music, and gorgeous cars to move the film along at the perfect pace.
At times the writing can become cheesy. In this film it feels like we’ve definitely been here before and we know what’s coming along with the cheesy dialogue. In lesser actors’ hands this film would crumble like blue cheese, but fortunately this film has more than capable actors all across the board which prevents this disaster.
Though Lowrider treads in familiar water, the film overall is enjoyable. Snatched and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword aren’t really worth your time and money. I suggest taking a chance on learning about a culture that many of us know little or nothing about. I guarantee you’ll enjoy the slow and low ride.
Lowriders (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time you see a gorgeous lowrider
Take a Drink: every time you see a lowrider hit the switches and pop in the air
Do a Shot: whenever there is a mention of their mother Marisol
Do a Shot: every time Danny Spray paints something