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Amy Clare Beales
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The year is 1866 and the bloodiest conflict in American history - the Civil War - has recently come to an end. Miles away in the isolated countryside of Texas, two families neighbor one another. The Rileys trap animals and sell their pelts for a meager living, while the McCluskeys, having lost their proud cattle business to the war, steal from the weaker Rileys' traps. That is, until WADE, favorite uncle to the Riley children and an embattled war veteran, visits his family to find reprieve from the horrors he has seen. Wade learns of the McCluskeys' misdoings and takes it upon himself to put a stop to them and before long, finds himself with another war on his hands - this time, one of his own making.
Sitting through the entirety of Echoes of War was a difficult task, to say the least. I guess I was expecting something else, something totally different, something entertaining. It reminded me of sitting through one of those educational films in high school history or science class. You want to watch it because you're hoping to learn something (in this case be drawn in by a compelling story), but you end up with heavy eyelids and your mind drifting off thinking about whether you want a Big Mac or a Whopper when the bell rings or final credits come up.
If I'm going to be expected to sit through a slow burn drama like this, it damn well better be captivating with staggering performances. Echoes of War had neither. I think James Badge Dale and William Forseythe are decent actors and did a fair job considering what they had to work with, but the material was simply too sub-par to expect anything more from them. The characters are one-dimensional and predictable. Difficult to tell if you can fault the direction on this or not. Sometimes even when you have a great director at the helm of a slow, deliberate drama, it can still fall flat and fail to move an audience.
The other problem I had with this film was the score became slightly distracting at times. I gave this a rating of 3 only because I'm a fan of the Western genre, but if you're forced to watch this thing, I suggest you suck down 10 cups of coffee beforehand.
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