THE ACCIDENTAL GETAWAY DRIVER
Long ((Hiệp Trần Nghĩa), a Vietnamese driver in Southern California, answers a late-night call for a ride. Already in his pajamas, he reluctantly accepts, picking up a man, Tây (Dustin Nguyen), and his two companions. But the men, recently escaped convicts from an Orange County jail, take Long hostage at gunpoint, thrusting him into their getaway plan. When complications arise, the fugitives and their hostage hole up at a motel, and a tense waiting game unfolds. Sing J. Lee’s striking visuals and mood-driven aesthetic set the tone for unnerving intensity, punctuated by moments of humor and warmth. Inspired by a true story, this is not just a crime film, but a stirring portrait of this lonely old man and his relationship with Tây. It’s hard to overstate the captivating presence and poignance of Hiệp Trần Nghĩa in carrying the burdens of Long’s past — expressed through lyrical and gently surreal interludes: war, re-education camp, family estrangement, and now his marked isolation, having lost every “home” he’s ever known. This film is presented as part of HIFF’s New American Perspectives program in partnership with the Vilcek Foundation. Director Sing J. Lee will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.