The Accidental Getaway Driver is one those rare, where-did-this-come-from films that every so often pops up to invigorate festivals and adventurous viewers on the lookout for something fresh and different. Generically, this is nothing new, a low-down gritty crime drama populated by cars, guns and desperate characters. But the movie, which premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival, benefits considerably from being set in the rarely, if ever, filmed Little Saigon section of Orange County south of Los Angeles; a highly unlikely cast dominated by an octogenarian not looking for trouble; and, crucially, a noirish nocturnal milieu that injects the action with dread, even with a final stretch doesn’t really pay off with the kind of tension you expect from a crime drama. However, despite its lack of an exciting climax, this is a film that draws you in and offers sufficient satisfactions to attract genre aficionados and others keen to partake of some good new brew in an old bottle.
Poor old Long Ma. It’s late at night and the elderly taxi driver (Hiệp Trần Nghĩa) is already home in his small flat and tired out from a long day when he gets a last-minute call offering some good money. Obligingly heading back out into the night, he finds his three prospective passengers but is promptly kidnapped for his trouble and taken to a nearby motel room by desperate lowlifes who have just escaped from jail. The room is not the sort of place where you’d want to spend the night even without the criminals as company.
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