Written by Jesus Figueroa (@Thisfunktional)
A story fitting an east Los Angeles Culture that has been around for many years, “Lowriders” has an iconic look and style fitting of east LA.
Although the music is modernized, there is no classic oldies which the car clubs enjoy showcasing their cars to in this story of a new generation of Hispanics keeping tradition alive.
Danny, played by Gabriel Chavarria, is a great example of the new generation of Hispanics. The culture isn’t lost to him, just the emphasis of his drive goes a different direction.
Chavarria is great as the confused kid thinking he knows everything and has everything figured out. His drive and evolution capture the audience’s attention and gives a voice to young Hispanics like his character.
Ghost, played by Theo Rossi, is impactful throughout. The character is a catalyst for change and understanding while being also troubled.
Rossi is brilliant and fits this character fantastic. The persistent nature of his character is captured, the complex rivalry is made prominent through mannerisms as well as the tone of voice used, even more when facial expressions and body language express the discomfort or anger as much as the delivery of the strong words.
The patria of the family Miguel, played by Damian Bichir, is a strong stubborn Hispanic father. His cold, scared to show emotion character was powerful.
Bichir seems like he is picked from the streets of east Los Angeles. His quiet, cold and stubborn portrayal of this character speaks to the social being of typical fathers who look to conceal emotion to show strength.
These three characters drive the movie and the cars they showcase are extraordinary while also being fitting of the peacocking they do to grab each other’s attention, yet still are confused as to why there’s such a division between family.
Danny’s girlfriend Lorelai, played by Melissa Benoist, helps to show Danny how he keeps himself from accepting all that he is.
Benoist isn’t always such a strong character in past projects, but she is able to be the passionate guardian character beautifully. Her strength is shown and she helps to bring out the complexity on Chavarria’s character. It’s a brilliant performance.
Miguel’s wife Gloria, played by Eva Longoria, serves as a rock to Miguel. The character isn’t on screen much, but the moral compass she is to this family helps to bring out even more out of these characters.
Longoria uses the few lines of dialogue she has to make a grand statement which connects the history behind the lowrider culture to the struggle going on between Miguel and his sons. The performance is great and she makes her impact.
Beside the car story, which it digs into the history and culture behind the lowrider tradition, the story has a depth which makes a commentary into the social construct of the Hispanic family.
“Lowriders” is one of the few movies of 2017 which tells a human story in a natural way which audiences of any ethnicity or age can relate to.
This isn’t the fictitious la la land LA scenery, it can almost be an east LA story family drama pulled from the streets of LA.
It’s beautiful to see the gritty less than perfect LA scenery and the dysfunctional family story which almost puts a mirror to the hispanic family dynamic.
“Lowriders” is a gorgeous story which doesn’t need a hero, doesn’t need a villain and that still constructs a story which is exceptional.
Forget about legends and myths, there’s no CG in the real world and no explosions are needed to tell this modern story that is fantastic for this day and time.
“Lowriders” is a coming-of-age story for the youth, for the parents and for those who need that family unit to understand each other more.