Review by Sean Boelman
Seth Savoy’s heist thriller Echo Boomers clearly wants to be both stylish and insightful, but it comes up short in both regards. However, if one approaches it for what it is, a passable if rather unoriginal B-movie, it’s a lot more fun than much of the other schlock that the genre typically has to offer.
The film follows a group of college graduates who, struggling to find a job in the increasingly difficult economy, decide to pull off heists stealing art from the upper class in Chicago and fencing it so that they can have the lifestyle that they always imagined. Like a more bitter and mean-spirited Robin Hood, there are some interesting things here, but the more it tries to say, the worse it gets.
Some of the observations that the movie makes about the economy are definitely very true. Many think that a college education is a straight shot to a great job, but that isn’t always the case, as professional fields need fewer people every day and low-skill labor sees graduates as overqualified. Where the film fails is in making that connection between the exploitation of labor and the upper class doing the exploitation.
One of the movie’s shortcomings is that it doesn’t balance its character development well. The main protagonist is the idyllic fresh face to the illegal operation, and he’s a compelling character, but the film shifts perspective. The movie is framed as interviews being given by the characters to a journalist, but jumping around between them prevents that connection.
Patrick Schwarzenegger gives a decent enough performance, but the role is pretty conventional and straightforward. In the supporting cast, Alex Pettyfer is really over-the-top in a role that would have been better fit to be cool and laid-back, and Michael Shannon is fun to watch in his small but hammy role.
The thing that is really missing here are some memorable heist sequences. The film shows us the down-and-dirty of the first couple, but the rest are done through montages. Even when things start to get a lot tougher for them, the movie doesn’t allow the audience to have fun with the challenges and obstacles they face.
On a technical level, the film is a bit lackluster, but that isn’t due to lack of trying. Instead, the attempts at being sleek and modern come off as cheap and pandering. Savoy doesn’t settle on any one tone, and the movie suffers as a result. Additionally, the dichotomy between the high-class world they are destroying and the low-class one they are living in is never fully established.
Echo Boomers isn’t successful when it tries to be something greater than the genre in which it belongs. There are some moments that show its potential to be something more substantial, but for the most part, it’s a very standard thriller, and that’s okay.
Echo Boomers hits VOD on November 13.