Donovan’s Echo DVD Review (Kirk Haviland)

Donovan’s Echo DVD Review

Starring Danny Glover, Bruce Greenwood, Natasha Calis, and Sonja Bennett

Written by Jim Cliffe and Melody Krieger

Directed by Jim Cliffe

Out this week, an exclusive release from Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada, is the Canadian production Donovan’s Echo. After a run on the festival circuit that included stops in Calgary and Edmonton, Donovan’s Echo, the Danny Glover semi-supernatural thriller is now available to take home. But is it something you need to buy, rent or pass on?

Set in 1994, Donovan Matheson (Glover) returns home after a 30 year absence to discover events from his past are replaying out with astonishing accuracy. Plagued by the idea of déjà vu, Donovan is convinced his young neighbour Maggie (Calis) and her mother Sarah (Bennett) will be killed on the 30th anniversary of his own wife and daughter’s death. Struggling to unlock the pattern, Donovan tries to convince his brother-in-law, Deputy Police Chief Finnley (Bruce Greenwood), to help prevent a similar tragedy but to no avail. When the facts don’t add up, Donovan’s sanity is questioned and he ends up scaring Maggie and Sarah with his wild antics. But as Finnley digs deeper will he find that Donovan is right and save the girls in time?

Sadly, Donovan’s Echo is a lot more like bad TV melodrama than sci-fi thrill ride. The script is predictable for the most part, with most of the more important parts of the narrative spelled out bluntly so that the audience isn’t confused. I really would have liked a little mystery/confusion, but instead Donovan’s plays it strictly by the numbers. The performances are fine, Glover is solid when not overselling it towards the end, but all of them have done better work before, with Calis currently doing excellent work in The Possession in theaters now. Greenwood is good here but the script has him spouting lines that simply feel awkward. The ending plays out exactly as you would expect, with the suspect in question being obvious from the beginning, and tacks on a goofy “present day” sequence that is laughably bad. Director Cliffe’s script may have been flawed but his eye for detail behind the camera is solid as the setting is quite splendidly realized throughout the film.

The DVD contains little additional material as we get a short behind the scenes featurette, a theatrical trailer and a Director/Producer commentary track. The behind the scenes featurette does little to sell me any more on the film. The disc does seem to have a different audio level between the film presentation and the featurette, but I was seeing this on a test disc and it may be corrected before the final authoring.

In the end Donovan’s Echo didn’t win me over completely but there was enough for me to stick with it through the entire film. Though not enough to allow me to give any more than a mild non-recommend, Donovan’s could be a decent inoffensive rental on a hot September night.

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO

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