Donovan's Echo: Cannes Review

Echo Productions
Slow moving and leaden psychological drama starring Danny Glover. 

Danny Glover stars in a slow moving film about an alcoholic mathematician's return to his home town after a mysterious 30-year absence.

CANNES -- A brilliant mathematician returns to his home town after a mysterious 30-year absence and struggles to purge deep personal demons.

Starring Danny Glover as a math whiz who blames himself for the accidental the death of his wife and daughter in a car accident 30 years ago, this psychological drama never really adds up. Similarly, the film’s promise as a theatrical release or even cable offering are quantifiably low.

Shot with crisp economy in a small Canadian town, the drama itself unfolds more like an equation than a credible life story. In a nutshell, Donovan experiences horrifying fits of déjà vu, where he recalls his family’s accident: He connects these flash memories to the imminent killing of a local family.

A recovering alcoholic, who still sloshes down the whiskey, Donovan’s dark premonitions and warnings are dismissed by the community. In fact, his adamant insistence on their veracity frightens the very family he is helping to save. At best, he is regarded as an elderly drunk, while at worst, he is eyed as a possible child molester.

Admittedly, the film is bolted to an intriguing psychological/paranormal premise, but the narrative trudges along in a fitful monotony of somber tones and stodgy pacing.

While the screenwriters (Jim Cliffe, Melodie Krieger) have assiduously connected all the back-and-forth story dots, co-writer/director Cliffe’s static compositions and lumbering cadence constricts the story thrust.

Glover’s performance is perfectly stirred with agitation and humility, bespeaking his character’s overwhelming inner conflicts.

Overall, the film’s dark visual palette and somber atmospherics tones mute Donovan’s Echo’s dramatic resonance.  

Venue: Cannes Film Festival, Market
Sales: Union Pictures
Production companies: Common Man Films, Donovan’s Echo Prods., Maniacal Toon Media
Cast: Danny Glover, Bruce Greenwood, Sonja Bennett, Chelah Horsdal, Ian Tracey, David Lewis, Lanette Ware
Director: Jim Cliffe
Screenwriters: Jim Cliffe, Melodie Krieger
Producers: Trent Carlson, Andria Spring
Director of photography: Robert Aschmann
Production designer: Grant Pearse
Costume designer: Patricia Hargreaves
No rating, 95 minutes