Fantasia Film Review: Lowlife

Lowlife_Crystal_El_Monstruo

Lowlife is a movie that you don’t know you need in your life. Director Ryan Prows has created a tale that has heart and guts. It’s framed in the cruel world of the people that prey on illegal immigrants delivering a clear message for an ugly truth that still happens to this day.

Teddy “Bear” Haynes (Mark Burnham) is living the life. He’s running an underground operation with a corrupt ICE officer where he nabs illegals, pimps out the women and slices the rest of them up for illegal organ trafficking. He also employs Mexican wrestler El Monstruo (Ricardo Adam Zarate), the last of a long line of wrestlers with the same mask that are revered by the Mexican people as a hero.

El Monstruo is married to Kaylee (Santana Dempsey) who’s pregnant with his child but also a drug user. Kaylee is Teddy’s adoptive daughter. She has lost touch with her mother, Crystal (Nicki Micheaux) who runs a local motel that keeps getting raided for illegal immigrants.

Thanks to Teddy, Crystal thinks Kaylee is willing to give up her kidney to save her husband who won’t quit getting drunk. Instead, Teddy is forcing Keith, an embezzling accountant, and Randy, who just got out of prison, to kidnap her.

El Monstruo has to be my favorite character here. He’s the last of a legacy, protecting the next. He’s doing what he’s told to survive, betraying his own people but trying to keep some semblance of morality. He claims to his ideal of justice in an almost childlike desperation, but he’s done awful and terrible things.  He also has these episodes in which he goes into a blind rage only to wake up after he’s killed or maimed someone.

Teddy is my favorite character to hate. He’s got people under his thumb that he’s adopted or blackmailed into servitude. He’s ready to slice open his adoptive daughter without a second thought. He also seems to enjoy making El Monstruo betray his own people and swindling Crystal out of her money for her own daughter’s kidney. There’s no bottom of the barrel with Teddy. He keeps sinking to unknown depths of depravity and loving it.

Highly recommended as what could be Fantasia’s breakout hit. It’s not a high gloss tale, but a story of flawed characters taken right out of everyday life. When you live at the end of your rope, you’re willing to compromise all what you believe in to try to make a life for yourself. The legacy is everything, but it means nothing if you’re not living up to it.

That will do for now.

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