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Christopher Webster [Film Festival 09.25.11] Canada thriller fantasy mystery

Year: 2011
Directors: Jim Cliffe
Writers: Jim Cliffe / Melodie Krieger
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 7 out of 10

With a well constructed script and strong performances from actors Danny Glover and Bruce Greenwood, Canadian made Donovan's Echo emerges as a solid supernatural mystery drama and a nice little surprise from this year's Edmonton International Film festival. And with the conviction of a veteran who knows exactly where his story is headed, director/co-writer Jim Cliffe allows his feature film debut to unfold slowly, which lets the movie breath and its actors to really find a life inside the frame. A rare strength in a new director and one that I think really helped the film be engaging.

In some ways the film's plot is familiar territory. Someone has premonitions about future events and must stop them. We've seen that play out in everything from Knowing to Next (Nicholas Cage loves these stories I guess). In Donovan's Echo that someone is Donovan Matheson (Glover), an aging physicist who comes back to his hometown on the eve of the 30th anniversary of his wife and daughter's tragic death. Soon he is plagued by deja-vu and visions of events that seem to coincide with ideas he had thirty years ago. Is his past trying to tell him something from his future? He soon discovers that he and a little girl from his neighbourhood are linked in some profound way and he must figure out what it all means.

Danny Glover has been popping up in indie genre stuff lately to mixed effect, bit here he feels like the right choice as Donovan. The aging thespian is on top of his game and you absolutely believe his intelligence, his grief and his kindness as a man. Maybe it's Cliffe's ability to coax performance, but when the supernatural sh*t hits the fan Glover doesn't push the crazy so far that you lose track of where he's at as a character and I think that was the right way to go.

Bruce Greenwood is also awesome in this and the best scenes are between these two old friends. Greenwood is the anchor that keeps Glover grounded, so when their relationship begins to fracture its pretty heartbreaking.

Donovan's Echo was filmed in Vancouver Canada and the local autumn locales are quaint, old-world, stunning. It's a very well made, understated film with a great script and a great cast. What more can you ask for?

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