In the halcyon days of the early 2010s, it seemed like we had the luxury of dealing with one major social problem at a time. For several months in the fall of 2011, the protests on Occupy Wall Street that swept Zuccotti Park dominated the headlines, inspired similar actions around the world, and highlighted economic inequality, an inequality that has only become more apparent in the world a decade has passed. “Echo boomer“A robbery film referring to Occupy that reverberates with millennial anger at dwindling opportunities as the rich get richer seems perfectly poised for that special moment when the pandemic has further exposed that steep divide.” Echo Boomers “is a red genre exercise told with the depth of a long-discarded USA Today infographic on a bench by the Wall Street subway station, screaming leftover slogans from a movement that always had so much more to say.
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When Lance with big eyes (Patrick Schwarzenegger) blows to Chicago, shouldering $ 60,000 in student debt, a degree in art history and – big shock – few career prospects. He is delighted with his cousin Jack (Gilles Geary) Offer of a position at a “start-up” that is active in “acquisitions”. Lance doesn’t need a college education to conclude that Jack is part of a crew that combines activism with crime theft. Led by Ellis (Alex Pettyfer) and his girlfriend Allie (Hayley Law) the entrepreneur criminals break into villas, steal the goods and force them through Mel (Michael Shannon). Mel provides them with the addresses, and because of his front line of legitimate mail-order business, he can easily get rid of the stolen goods for willing customers. Lance is included in the program because his art historical knowledge helps identify valuable work. Every crew member feels like they have been betrayed by the system in some way, from an Afghan war vet who returned home ignored from his country to a tech nerd who discovered that Silicon Valley dreams are made of empty parts and bytes passed. This is how their activism takes shape during the robberies as they are all involved in meticulously demolishing and demolishing the homes they have invaded and believing in any seriousness they leave behind.
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It’s hard to understand which point director Seth Savoy (makes his debut) and his co-authors Jason Miller and Kevin Bernhardttry to convey. If there is any parasitic irony, when the rich buy valuable black-market goods that the other rich have been stolen, it goes completely over their heads. It’s also hard to see if the filmmakers actually have a stance on the crew rationalizations to justify their crimes. Savoy definitely enjoys filming the sequences of destruction and even creates a nifty montage of the crew’s work with a rock and roll soundtrack. But he seems less concerned about how they always hollowly insist that the ends justify the means and the blatant fact that their work is not benefiting anyone else, simply filling their own pockets. Here, too, the filmmakers – together with the characters – don’t seem to notice this glaring hypocrisy.
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“Echo Boomers” is based on a flashback structure powered by Lance’s voice-over – he speaks from prison to writer Lesley Anne Warrenresearching a book about the criminal exploits of the occupation. However, Lance offers little or no moral or political position on anything. Lance leads the audience into the political and criminal world of this group and only plays an observer. He has a moral spine and tends to bend no matter which way the wind blows. Initially appalled when Lance discovers the truth about Jack’s job offer, he is on the verge of dividing town until his cousin fails to convince him to stick to a lot of weak and empty rhetoric. From there, Lance is on his way there and only shows traces of conviction when a love triangle raises its head at some point and its decision-making process is mostly driven by romantic intentions. Lance’s political awakening, little to be shown of it, is mostly carried over in a series of simple “lessons” that he takes up along the way and shares throughout the film, starting with borrowed phrases usually found on posters (“If they “let’s not dream, we won’t let them sleep”) to worn clichés (“there is a thin line between a friend and an enemy”).
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In the course of “Echo Boomers” it becomes increasingly clear that the Occupy motifs are just a shell with which Savoy and his team try to cover up the rather unimaginative crime thriller in which they invest more. The film eventually evolves into the inevitable Last Heist that predictably goes wrong, and its few surprises are blunted by the knowledge we’ve already been told: Lucas is rotting in prison. In this lukewarm affair, appearances by a sinister Pettyfer and especially Shannon, who is always a joy to see in his oily sleazebag mode (his friend and filmmaker), are better than this movie Jeff Nichols thanked in the credits so maybe some favors have been called to make it appear).
The filmmakers’ inability or unwillingness to actually engage with the discourse around which “Echo Boomers” revolves makes the film appear both artificial and hysterical. Understanding how a generation expresses their real concerns about the system and the implications for their future are drawn to your parents’ worst nightmares Fox News. Both the film and the movement it so ruthlessly draws from deserve a lot more. [D]
Echo Boomers will be in cinemas, on demand and digitally on November 13th.