'Echo Boomers' Review: Patrick Schwarzenegger shines as 'boy next door', but preachy plot fails to make a mark
While the crime drama attempts to make a statement, it concludes as a moral story that makes little difference
Spoilers for 'Echo Boomers'
If there is one complaint that millennials have with boomers is that the older generation left them surviving in a crumbling economy. The job market leaves even the most talented of graduates jobless for years increasing the student debt loan multifold. Even the jobs thay come one's way are little to do with expertise and more minimum wage labour or internships that apparently teach a lot.
Lance Zutterland (Patrick Schwarzenegger) is one such graduate. With his art history degree, most galleries only offer him a job with the bare minimums. How is he to pay his debt in full? When he gets a call from his cousin from Chicago, Lance rushes with the first bus out. Jack promises him a new job and the opportunity to make big money in a short period of time. But he doesn't tell him what the job is.
Soon Lance discovers that Jack isn't making money legally working with a group of rebellious graduates, who, much like Lance, have been failed by the system. They break into rich people's homes by smuggling their contacts from an insurance agency. But these aren't regular misfits - robbing the rich is not their only concern, the group also wants to send a message with their violence. So in addition robbing these houses, they destroy anything and everything they leave behind. They sell the loot to Mel Donnelly (Michael Shannon) who gives them a cut, but not before complaining.
A lot of the movie focuses on the rebellion by this group. Undoubtedly, there is friction within the group particularly with the addition of Lance. Ellis Beck (Alex Pettyfer) is unhappy with Lance's addition to the group and sees him as a threat to even his love life. The rest of the group is made up of Allie (Hayley Law), for who Lance develops inexplicable feelings for, and Stewart (Oliver Cooper) and Chandler (Jacob Alexander) both in supporting roles. It doesn't take a lot to guess that the group's scheme soon begins to fail as the gravity of their own actions begins to dawn upon them. And slowly, they loosen their approach and make way for the law to catch up with them. And thus bringing their mission to an end.
'Echo Boomers' tries hard to be a heist movie with a purpose. But it fails by reducing itself to a strange, unwanted moral lesson. It tells the story of a rebellious group that is out to reprimand the system that promised them everything and more. They followed everything they were told to do - study, graduate, student loan, college - but where are the fruits? In their quest to get back at the system, a boomer (Shannon) takes advantage of them - he even cribs to pay them the right amount for the looting, and even sparks the first seeds of mistrust among them.
In Lance is every person in the audience who trusted the system with his future. In fact in each of them is a representative that was wrong in one way or the other. While the crime drama attempts to make a statement, it concludes as a moral story that makes little difference. The theme might be relevant but debutante Seth Savoy could have given his characters more depth. It would have been even more interesting had Lance flipped the tables on the group instead of narrating his memoir to an author from prison.
That said, Patrick Schwarzenegger is well cast as Lance, the boy next door, who is yearning to make a difference. Pettyfer as Ellis is convincing and works out the friction with the lead well. And lastly, Shannon as the boomer is never disappointing.
Watch 'Echo Boomers' for a simple moral story. It might seem preachy but it doesn't overdo it.