Patrick Schwarzenegger, Alex Pettyfer and Michael Shannon lead the cast of Echo Boomers – and here’s our review of the movie.
“When the system is corrupt, why play by the rules?” A nice try at self-justification from one of the millennials in Seth Savoy’s Echo Boomers, but it rings hollow. And the same can be said for the premise running through the film.
Loosely based on a true story, the film revolves around a group of young people who’ve found that life doesn’t live up to their expectations, especially when it comes to making and spending money. College graduate Lance (Patrick Schwarzenegger) has a pile of student debt and no prospect of a job to help pay it off. An offer from cousin Jack (Gilles Geary) in Chicago seems to be what he’s looking for, but it turns out he’s a member of a disaffected gang who steal valuable artworks from the homes of the wealthy and vandalise their residences to make a social statement. With an art background, Lance is the perfect choice to spot the most valuable pieces for the gang’s manipulative fence Mel (Michael Shannon).
In his debut feature, Savoy attempts to give the heist thriller a contemporary refresh. Nothing wrong with that. But he faces two major obstacles when it comes to creating the necessary tension. The narrative is told in flashback, as Lance relates his story to a writer – and you can guess where those conversations take place. More importantly, the Robin Hood in reverse proposition simply doesn’t hold water. It’s not about justice, but entitlement, despite what the gang purport to believe, and it leaves a self-centred taste in the mouth. Our sympathy is minimal and so are the chances of suspense or thrills.
That opening quote is just one of a series of ‘rules’ used to divide the film into chapters. Lance apparently learns them as part of his criminal spree but, as a narrative device, they lack imagination and are sometimes close to laughable. “The best things in life are expensive” or “The most dangerous people are those with nothing to lose”. Gerraway! It almost makes you long for a good old-fashioned baddie instead of this self-absorbed bunch of burglars.
The cast have a difficult job winning over the audience, and the results are patchy. As Lance, Schwarzenegger has his work cut out. Still, Alex Pettyfer, who also produces, fares better as the gang’s leader, Ellis, who is increasingly aware that he has trouble on his hands. Inevitably, though, Shannon stands head and shoulders above the lot of them. We don’t see him enough, but a little goes a long way in his portrayal of the cynical, astute fence who can’t be doing with the gang’s self-justification. He’s not alone.
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