Echoes of War (2015) Poster

(2015)

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3/10
Banal and boring beyond belief.
sxswguy26 April 2015
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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3/10
#Bogus user reviews from the filmmakers?
uta-4963330 April 2015
When you have made a film as inept as Echoes of War is, perhaps the only way to try and persuade anyone to take a chance on watching it is to post bogus user reviews about it. Case in point: read some of the user reviews with 9 & 10 star ratings and it is glaringly apparent that someone involved in the film has composed them in an effort to hoodwink filmgoers. I mean come on, comparing the director Kane Senes to Clint Eastwood? Really? I think not!

Regarding this film, save your cash for a Lone Ranger marathon. The dialog in this was contrived, the scenes as predictable as a TV-movie, and yet the biggest sin was its dull premise with talking heads you don't really care too much about.

Who do you blame for a film like this? The actors for not delivering stellar performances, the writers for a flawed script, or the director for not getting the right delivery out of an actor? In this case you can't really blame the cast even though the performances for the most part were non-riveting. The fault lies squarely in the writing which was lame, plus the direction screams inexperience.

Putting bodies in period costumes doesn't make a film a Western. And it DEFINITELY DOESN'T make you comparable to Mr. Eastwood!
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2/10
Echoes of Bore
austinlimits7 May 2015
If you see one film this year, make sure it's NOT this one...unless you're in need of some shut-eye. In fact, if you see dozens of films this year, your time would best be spent doing anything else than watching this dreadful piece of garbage. Holy crap, the fellas who made this are clueless when it comes to storytelling.

Dull and excruciatingly slow doesn't even begin to describe this regurgitated Hatfield & McCoy-type story. There's no tension or real drama, the plot is as bland as unseasoned potatoes, the acting is nothing to write home about, the music is downright annoying, the photography is, well...meh, The whole stinking thing is plain awful. As a matter of fact, to call this awful is actually an insult to awful films.

Rating this 2 stars out of 10.
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2/10
Some films should never be made...
lonestarsinger22 April 2015
...and unfortunately, this is one of them. Where does one even begin with this debacle?

Let's start with the dialogue: OMG, people during the Civil War era didn't speak like the way the writers of this have written the characters. That immediately erased any suspension of disbelief.

Next, the performances weren't terrible, but they weren't great either. A really deft cast might have been able to improvise the poorly written dialogue to elevate the film and their performances, but instead we are left with characters sounding almost like the way people in today's society would speak.

Cinematography was okay for the most part but became a bit self-indulgent for the worse at a few points.

The movie crawls along and is sabotaged by it's sluggish pacing. This film could have easily been a 60-70 minute film instead of a drawn-out 100 minute yawner.

The overall story suffers from a complete lack of originality and consequently fails to really draw in the viewer. There are a few scenes that work, but the majority of them in this film are pointless and somewhat incoherent.

If you value your time, you might want to avoid this one.
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2/10
One of the dullest Westerns ever
DallasCinefile17 April 2015
Lord almighty, I don't know what this filmmaker was trying to accomplish with this thing, but it was so incredibly boring. I was hoping this was going to be more interesting, but the pace was excruciatingly slow and the story not at all compelling. There was nothing in the way of performances to get excited about and the production value looked really chintzy. Doing a period piece in general is challenging enough, but doing a Western without stars or a seasoned director is a tall order certainly not filled by this effort. Unfortunately there is nothing I can recommend about Echoes of War other than it should be avoided if you value your time. Truly one of the dullest Westerns, if not films, I've ever seen. Zzz...
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2/10
This film will put you to sleep
fhenderson-5345828 April 2015
Insomnia? Haven't been able to get a decent nights sleep in some time? Watch this film! I assure you, you'll be out before you know it. What in the world were the people behind this hot mess thinking? If they were attempting to alienate audiences with an uninteresting plot and bland storytelling, they most certainly succeeded. If they were attempting to keep an audience engaged and invested in interesting characters, they most certainly failed.

The first clue should have been that there aren't any star names in this thing, only a handful of lesser-known character actors. That's usually a dead giveaway that a film is either poorly written, poorly produced, and/or both. The crux of the problem here is the writing. It plain and simple isn't good no matter how you cut it. I'm sure these poor filmmakers didn't purposefully sit down to pen the worst western in the history of the genre, but that's exactly what they have unwittingly done.

There's nothing wrong with trying to convey your vision to an audience, I just hope that their next effort, if there is one, will keep the audience from dozing.
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1/10
This movie pretty much sucked
Landon199519 April 2015
As I sat in the theater watching this horrible train wreck of a movie, I couldn't help but mourn the Western genre. Where has it gone? The last good western I remember seeing was Unforgiven. This isn't even close...not by a zillion miles.

James Badge Dale, Ethan Embry, and William Forseythe star in this tired Hatfield and McCoy type story about a Civil War vet returning home after the war and the strife between two feuding families. The movie plays out at a snails pace and becomes drawn out and impossible to sit through. To be honest, I dozed in and out the entire time because it just couldn't hold my attention. It didn't help that the director was attempting to channel Malick on some of the shots because it just made it more mundane than it already was.

Add to that the fact that some of the roles were miscast and you have a really bad movie.
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1/10
Straight to video snoozer
smubaseball27 April 2015
Films don't get a whole lot more boring than this one. They bill it as a western - probably in an attempt to separate fans of the genre from their hard earned money (and time). The reality is this is a poorly written, poorly produced piece of manure that will have you fast asleep before the first 15-20 minutes. If you're unfortunate to still be awake after the first 15-20 minutes, you'll be subjected to the most drawn out, self-indulgent, boring drama that will have you wishing you were doing anything else but watching it. When I saw this, I witnessed audience members shifting in their seats, checking their iPhones, dozing off, anything but able to stay with this for over an hour and a half. It's really that bad. Boring story, boring performances, boring, boring, boring.

This will undoubtedly go straight to video where it will fade into the annals of the internet filed under films that nobody saw or gave a darn about.
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2/10
Terrible writing, weak performances, and boring story!!!
tarheelbooster25 May 2015
Screenwriters John Chriss and Kane Senes have provided a screenplay filled with way too many western cliché's and not enough original content. Re Senes' direction, the sluggish pace causes this film to spiral out of control. The acting in the film is also weak. James Badge Dale is very one dimensional in his role as the war veteran. William Forsythe's character is also a lost cause: acting as the antagonist in the film, you neither understand, nor do you care about the events of his past that have lead to the person he is now. Echoes of War is a film that struggles to resonate any true enjoyment for its viewers. A story that is not original and is in fact quite boring, it is destined to ride off into the sunset and out of our memories very quickly. Don't waste one second of your time on this film. You can thank me later!
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1/10
Poorly written and stale period piece will bore your pants off.
nylitguy15 May 2015
Abby Garnett from the Village Voice was spot on in her review of this poorly written and executed drama. I'm not kidding, nearly 90 minutes of this film show the lead character scraping a razor across his scalp combined with tedious dinner scenes that will put a speed-freak to sleep. All the characters are under-developed with terrible Texas accents and look like the type of people you would see hanging out in a trendy NY restaurant. This is supposed to be a western/period piece for Christ's sake!

Of the five other patrons in the theater I saw it at, three of them walked out after thirty minutes. This is definitely one to avoid.
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1/10
Echoes of an empty theater
dwinfr114 May 2015
This is the worst western I've seen since 1974. That was the summer I filmed my best friend, Jimmy R, with my new Kodak Super 8, wearing a Cardboard Stetson, shooting rubber tipped plastic arrows off the back porch of the ranch he shared with two siblings and his mother and father....When I say ranch, I mean a single level modern home. This was Chicago after all. How is it possible that a screen writer could lay out dialog this unrealistic? This was so off period (If I may coin a phrase) that it seemed to be a sketch for a TV variety show. Western set in the nineteenth century? Please say you're kidding me. These characters speak as if they're millennial's chatting at a Starbucks. I have written several short stories, published a couple. I'm a hack with degree in Creative Writing who's best quality is recognizing great writing, rather than writing great. I suppose that it is for that very reason that I get so irritated when I read a novel, or see a film, that money, a lot of money, has been spent on its production. Nobody saw this coming? Somewhere there is actually an executive producer who read this screen play, stuck a finger in the air, and called out, BRILLIANT? The only redeeming aspect of this two hour cattle pie is a few of the actors who tried very hard to pretend they were in the atmosphere and situation that the set and script called for. Valiant efforts to be sure, but not near enough to prevent me from wanting my money back. And it's sad. I love a good western. Who doesn't? There are several factors that go into writing a screenplay, rules that need to be followed to keep the story flowing smoothly toward its climax. And the rules are followed here. The screenplay and script seem to have been put together well. Technically, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Echoes Of War. It's just a bad bad boring movie that moves along slower than a 90 year old break dancer. Echoes Of War is to be missed. Life is way to short to spend any of it on this film. Trust me on this.
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1/10
rogerebert.com trashes Echoes of War as "BORING"
bulldawgznpushers17 May 2015
Peter Sobczynski of rogerebert.com said this about Echoes of War:

"Despite my best efforts, I could not see Echoes of War as anything more than a giant bore."

"Co-writers John Chriss and Kane Senes have provided a screenplay that consists of dialogue that strains for poetry at every turn and misses every time, and characters who always feel like plot devices instead of actual people."

"Senes serves double duty as director, and, as uninvolving as the screenplay he gave himself is, he does it no favor with a pace so sluggish that the film feels maybe three times longer than it actually is."

"The actors have been given neither compelling characters to play nor plausible dialogue, they more or less look exactly like what they are—a bunch of actors stuck in uncomfortable outfits uttering largely unspeakable dialogue."

"James Badge Dale is normally a good actor but his character is so one-dimensional and uninteresting that he is unable to get anything going with it."

"William Forsythe is one of those B-movie presences who can usually liven up even the most substandard of material but he is also stymied by a character built of so many clichés that he was probably off-book halfway through the first table read."

"Anyone going to this film to see Maika Monroe will be especially disappointed."
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2/10
Feeble filmmaking, lackluster performances, uninspired storytelling.
bradleylawsoncpa30 September 2015
This was torture to sit through. To call this piece tedious and boring is an understatement.

The plot is basically about a Civil War vet returning home to his family and becoming involved in a feud with their neighbors. There is nothing compelling to drive the story forward, there are long scenes of characters doing mundane things and not too much happens in this. I wonder what was the point of making it. Is it supposed to be experimental? I don't get it. The performances from the actors were, in my opinion, quite subpar. William Forseythe did what he could I suppose, but you can't build a house without a foundation, and this script's foundation was never laid. I'll assume it's lazy writing, what else could it be? Also, the accents of the actors were way off, not even remotely realistic.

I regret spending time watching it.
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The South will rise again... v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-ly!
Wizard-84 June 2016
I picked up this movie really cheap ($1.25) from a dollar store in my neighbourhood, since I quite often like to look at obscure movies since there are some real gems hidden out there. However, it didn't take long into watching it to determine that this was one movie that deserves to be unknown. Now, unlike some of the other user commenters here, I didn't find the acting to be particularly bad - nothing exceptional, but it was acceptable. And for what had to be a REALLY low budget, the filmmakers managed to stretch out every penny that they had (though I will admit that the movie isn't exactly lavish). But there is one big problem with the movie that sinks it, and that it is *painfully* slow and almost totally uneventful. Scene after scene goes by where *nothing* of real significance happens. You have to wait until 85% of the movie has gone by before things start really cooking, and then it's dealt with in just a manner of minutes. In the end, the movie seems to have no point at all, unless it was to be a nice tax write-off for the investors.
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2/10
Echoes of SNORE
vasilosjj15 May 2015
Try to imagine this image: a small movie theater with eight people in it watching this movie. 20 minutes in to the thing, there is a chorus of snoring coming from 4 of the people fast asleep. The snoring was competing with the dialogue... which, in my opinion, the snoring clearly won...and was a helluva lot more interesting than what the characters were saying. 15 minutes later, 2 other people had dozed off and the cacophony of snoring had, as they say, reached a crescendo. I looked back at the one other person awake and we just busted out laughing. I took out my iPhone and recorded it. I'll post it on YouTube under Echoes of Snore.

Regarding this film, don't bother unless you want to watch 100 minutes of characters beating rugs or picking wildflowers. The writing, acting, photography, directing, music, hair, makeup, costumes, sets were laughable. Student films have better production values than this. Looked like the budget for this film was under 100k.

I recommend the director, writers and producers of this movie not quit their day job...
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1/10
UNWATCHABLE - cinematic excrement
crapschamp7 June 2015
Usually when a film is as bad as Echoes of War is, you can find some bright spots. But in all honesty, there are none in this film. Nada. Zip. Zilch. This film is so boring and poorly done that you have to wonder how smart the poor suckers were who put their money into this thinking they've struck gold. It's not too surprising why the cast was populated with a few B actors and relative unknowns. The performances were weak because the material was weak. The direction looked awkward and unsure. The cinematography was clumsy, the sets and costumes looked dilettante,and the score was out of place.

What they did accomplish was they hit the cinematic excrement trifecta: bad script, bad acting, bad directing.
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1/10
this film gives dreck a bad name...
kelticcreed5 October 2015
This is, quite possibly, one of the worst films I have ever seen. It's worst than Swept Away. It's ridiculous, boring, and poorly acted. This is the first movie I have ever walked out of before the end credits rolled.

Kane Senes' direction for starters is very unimaginative, and the camera work and editing don't have any real charm to them. The writing and concept is very hackneyed. This has to be one of the most utterly horrible scripts ever conceived by mortal minds. I mean, sweet mother of mercy, what the hell was anyone thinking when they were doing this tepid rubbish?

Set in rural post-war Texas, a cattle baron named McCluskey has lost all his cattle. There's a returning war vet named Wade who turns out to be the long-lost brother-in-law to local milquetoast Seamus Riley. The villainous McCluskey clan is stealing from the Riley clan. It takes an inordinate amount of trite and tedious scenes for this conflict to come to a head — nearly 90 minutes of Seamus scraping a razor across his scalp, rugs being cleaned, and tedious dinner scenes.

Do yourself an enormous favor and skip this detritus.
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This film is exactly like what one of the coaches did in "The Voice"
BasicLogic27 May 2015
Well, I just wonder if you ever watched NBC's singing contest program, "The Voice". Did you ever feel that you were going crazy when you listened to one of the coaches, Adam Levine? He usually got nothing to say, but that did not stop him to blah, blah and blah, blabbering with lot of hollow words, beating about the bush endlessly, like he was trapped in his own hollow words and didn't know how to stop and get out of it. Why a guy with nothing to say but still tried so hard to say something that he did not know what he was saying or talking about? So every time when its his turn to say something but couldn't find the exact words or thoughts he's trying to say but did not realize he just tried to talk about something out of nothing, at that time, you lost your temper and patience, jumped up from the sofa, yelled and screamed at the image of Adam Levin on the screen: "SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP!"

Did you ever attend a college class with a lousy professor who mysteriously got the tenure to teach the students who tried to learn something but only got clueless garbled rubbish from him?

Did you ever tried to listen to some of the idiotic politicians to deliver a hollow speech in front of the voters?

This film is exactly like what I have to point out as the above-mentioned.

There was actually nothing to say, the storyline was just a very thin and short straight line; you could actually put all the words in half page. The whole movie is like it could be told all in the short synopsis out of a very very short story, but miraculously turned out to be a 600 pages big novel.

The whole movie was snail-crawling from the very beginning to the end without almost nothing to tell, so a scene of shaving head or cutting, chopping wood, walking through the forest, or woke up from nightmares, praying, press flowers between book pages, eating, skinning animals....all in close-up like slow motion crap. We also saw a camera usually followed behind the actors without any special purpose, the shaky scenes usually prolonged quite a while for nothing to tell specially.

This pathetic movie, I think, was actually written and directed by Adam Levine.
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1/10
This. Film. Is. A. Joke.
tejasproperty20 June 2015
A. Even if you can download this off the internet and get it for free, DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME!

B. Supposed to be a Western era period piece but the characters talk like modern urbanites.

C. The story is unimaginative, mundane, and clichéd.

D. The dialogue is so horribly written, who the heck were the idiots who read this trite B.S. and figured it was a good script to make?

E. The pacing of the whole film is sooooo slow, it is soooo mundane.

F. The acting is downright laughable. These poor people who were acting in it looked stiff and stilted.

G. I should've watched the trailer before I saw this. Even the trailer is insipid.

H. The directing is non existent. The shots in this film are stale and trivial.

I. Even if you can download this off the internet, get it for free, AND someone pays you to watch it...DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME!
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7/10
The grim reality
GwydionMW12 July 2016
Most Westerns show something totally unrealistic. This shows something like it would actually have been.

First, everyone is poor. The trapper family have always been poor. Their neighbours were once prosperous cattle ranchers, but their cattle are gone. They are reduced to trapping, but they don't have much skill with it. They trap illegally on the land of the trapper family.

The head of the family, whose wife has died, is religious and puts up with it. But his brother-in-law gets offended and feels the need to do something about it.

Separately from this, the daughter of the house is seeing one of the sons of the former rancher.

All this happens shortly after the Southern defeat in the US Civil War. Both the rancher family and the returned brother-in-law fought for the South. The brother-in-law is haunted by memories - what we'd now call Post-Traumatic Stress.

A slow-burning conflict develops from there. Not exactly an action movie, but showing the grim reality that most films ignore. It clearly doesn't please those who expect Westerns to be like live-action video games.
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2/10
Mind numbingly dull
cushingroyal2 October 2015
Set in the Southern U.S. shortly after the Civil War, Echoes Of War stars James Badge Dale as a former Confederate soldier who shows up at the home of his brother-in-law, played by Ethan Embry, to visit his sister's grave and see his niece, played by Maika Monroe, and nephew, played by Owen Teague. For the majority of this film, the Hatfield/McCoy-type conflict is truly much ado about nothing. Seriously, not a thing really happens in this film. Not a thing! I probably should have thrown in the towel during the first twenty minutes and headed for the exits. Oh well.

I don't know how you can make a film this dull and expect anyone to sit through an hour and a half of it, let alone remotely like it. All I can say is, if you value your time...don't waste it on this!

2 Stars
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1/10
This movie really sucked! It was so boring and unimaginative.
qualcommvp4 October 2015
I never write a review but this movie sucked so bad that I felt compelled to warn others not to waste their time and money. It honestly bored me to tears.

I agree with the majority of users who said this movie was terrible, it really is that bad. I found it insipid, irritating, and the worst thing of all: boring. It is not even remotely interesting or entertaining. Did someone put a gun to the actors heads and ask them to make this boring quasi 'western'? The characters are horribly one-dimensional and predictable. The story was also predictable and clichéd. There are overly long, meaningless and self-indulgent scenes of characters beating rugs, shaving their head, eating food for long stretches, it's completely laughable and obvious the movie was trying way way too hard to be artsy, but all it did was make me doze off.

Overall this is a massively unimpressive movie with weak performances and a stale story.
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6/10
This film has something to say, if you have the patience (and you should)
CokenaSmile16 October 2016
If you are expecting a shoot 'em up western, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a film that examines the aftermath of the Civil War in somewhat brutal terms and offers a "that was then, this is now," perspective to the average, impoverished white Confederate soldier coming home from the war, this is your film.

Editing could have been tighter while keeping the pensive tone. There's some elements of metaphor that should have gone just a little deeper with another draft on the script (who perishes, who survives & manner of disposal). It seems that most apt films about the South are made by foreign directors, starting with Renoir's The Southerner. The Aussie director gets a lot of things right, and for that, I will indulge some of the dialogue and pacing issues.

Ethan Embry disappeared into his role, and the film is worth watching for that.

Could have done without the graphic bedroom scene early on (not that I'm opposed, just that it wasn't necessary to establish the character as evil), but I'm guessing it was supposed to be a metaphor for how the wealthy barons of the South raped it even after it was no longer the Grand South?

If that's the case, then the character is both baron and carpetbagger in one, which is a little odd, but we'll roll with it.
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1/10
Raunchy Like the Rest These Days
beorhouse13 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
There ought to be a law. Seriously. This is raunchy trash, for those of you who like that kind of garbage. If you decide to watch, be prepared to be repulsed. Question: why do producers keep throwing their money at directors and their poorly written and scripted films that won't make any money in any venue? Avoid this one, folks. There are far better ones out there.
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7/10
extremely well acted
ferguson-618 April 2015
Greetings again from the darkness. The fallout from war goes beyond the violence and massive loss of life. Returning soldiers often struggle to regain a sense of normalcy, and are often labeled as PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And what of the families … those left behind with a gaping hole in their heart from the loss of a loved one, and those having to adjust to the "affected" surviving soldiers? This is the heart-breaking story of two families at the convergence of all of the above.

With the Civil War ending, Wade (James Badge Dale, "The Pacific") returns home in search of "peace". He shows up at the house of his brother-in-law Seamus (Ethan Embrey) and is greeted with open arms by his niece Abigail (Maika Monroe, It Follows) and nephew Samuel (Owen Teague), who clearly worship him as their favorite Uncle.

Though it's not a Hatfield and McCoys extreme, it doesn't take long for Wade to figure out the awkward and mostly silent unbalanced relationship between Seamus' family and the McCluskey neighbors. Randolph McCluskey (William Forsythe) is a bitter man who lost a son in the war, has an unresponsive wife (Beth Broderick) due to that loss, and two sons: Dillard (Ryan O'Nan) who is a bit slow-witted, and Marcus (Rhys Wakefield) who is far too sensitive to be accepted by his crusty old father.

Wade's best intentions of protecting his family turn a barely tolerable arrangement into an all-out war. On top of that, we get a bit of Romeo and Juliet to go along with Wade's slow-drip meltdown as he is simply unable to handle what the war has made him. The connection between Abigail and Marcus is exciting to watch, though we all recognize a romance facing a heavily stacked deck. Wakefield was previously seen in The Purge, and Ms. Monroe was stunning in It Follows. Both are young actors to keep an eye on.

It's almost unbelievable to accept that this is the first feature film from director Kane Senes and his co-writer John Chriss. There is so much going on here with multiple layers of conflict and personalities … plus the movie is beautifully shot with an air of artistic flair that lightens a mood when necessary, or makes an analogy of nature and man either through plants, critters or the sky. Religious overtures play a role, and it's fascinating to watch the various interactions … each more complex than the previous, culminating with Wade and Seamus who seemingly couldn't be more different.

The film explores the comparison of bravery versus cowardice and it challenges our beliefs. There is also a theme of survival – just what makes a life worth living? The acting here is something to behold. All eight are exceptional and contribute to the film's ultra-serious approach, broken by brief moments of pure joy. With a terrific and complex story, stellar acting, and a talented director, this is one that serious film goers should seek out and embrace.
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