Echoes of Innocence calls itself an ultimate tale of good vs.evil. Don’t expect Exorcist level of evil quality in this one. Don’t even expect the good fight. Sarah (Simmonds) has a Joan Of Ark complex of sorts. She’s having religious visions, apparently inspired by the disappearance of a boy she once promised to save herself for. He publicly proclaims her commitment to virginity and frequently fasts to the point of near collapse. This is the film’s “good”. The evil is represented in the character of Alec (Vodvarka). He teases folks and is a bit of a womanizer but no head turns or horns to be found. Mostly Alec wants to break Sarah’s virginity vow. You can see how exciting this is going to be. Ho hum.
Put aside the forced religious symbolism and you have no film. The acting is absolutely horrid. Everyone is pretty much a one dimensional symbol. It might have been better to label them and save us two hours of film. That’s a long time for virtually nothing to happen.
The picture is a very poor 1.85:1 non-anamorphic aspect ratio. The picture is always too dark to see half of what is going on. The climax is so dark I wasn’t even sure what I was looking at half the time. Contrast is almost non-existent. Everything simply blends together into one color and image. In the commentary track, the director brags about the extensive use of color correction. He cites the high school lockers. They were originally red, but he didn’t want them red, so now they’re blue. He color corrected everything out of this film. Some sequences are so saturated in blue that it’s hard to even see. This is just about unwatchable.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is a little better than the picture. Problems abound here as well. The actors do a poor job of projecting, and so dialogue is often lost in the mix. Again in the commentary Sims brags about avoiding doing much ADR. He says it is because the sound was already so wonderfully captured. If he truly believes that, we won’t see much more from this amateur director. The only high point is a sometimes very nicely rendered orchestration in the score. At times the audio does justice to the music. Other times musical cues are very muddy and unbalanced in the mix.
There is an audio commentary by Director Nathan Todd Sims. Even with a very detailed explanation, I still don’t understand this film at all. It’s obvious he thinks the material is very deep, and that’s likely his downfall. One technical problem is annoying. The film’s sound is completely gone during the commentary. We’re not just talking potted way back. It’s silent when Sims is not talking. This would be fine, but it is obvious Sims did not know that was going to be the case. He constantly points out audio tidbits and even shuts up so we can listen…. to nothing..
Trailers and the aforementioned commentary.
Just say no. That’s Sarah’s philosophy of society’s evils. It’s also mine on this film. Don’t buy it. Don’t rent it. If you’re thinking of getting it to expose your teen to the message on virginity, forget it. It is so poorly done that they might go out and have sex just so their lives won’t be as boring as the film was. This film goes nowhere. “It’s the same thing over and over again”.
Special Features List
- Commentary by Director