Written by: Adam Vaughn | March 30th, 2021
Echoes of Violence (Nicholas Woods, 2021) 3 out of 4 stars.
I dove into Nicholas Woods’s Echoes of Violence with minimal expectations as to what the story and cinematic conventions, and the development and blend of both, would look like. The film gave off minimal vibes in terms of its concept and characters. I quickly realized, however, that Echoes of Violence, while still in fact a minimal-concept movie, takes its material and creates a narrative that is extraordinarily relatable and relies heavily on a well-crafted script to convey a sense of cinematic realism.
Echoes of Violence tells the story of Marakya (Michaella Russell, It’s Not You, It’s Me), an immigrant who is afflicted with a villainous immigration lawyer (Taylor Flowers) who only poses as a lawyer to cover up a sex-trafficking business. Marakya, about to be eliminated by an ex-military hitman (Chase Cargill), is rescued by a nearby real-estate agent (Heston Horwin), setting in motion her plot for revenge against the phony immigration lawyer and his underground activities. But can she topple a clearly organized, elusive and deadly syndicate of criminals?
The film doesn’t necessarily discuss themes or topics that haven’t been addressed before, but where director Woods succeeds is in his utilization of character development, as the viewer learns more about various key players in the most impactful ways. Marakya’s tragic and culturally timely development as a victim of sex trafficking gives her clear, present and relatable motive throughout. The opening scene instantly introduces us to Alex (the real-estate agent), who immediately comes across as an authentic person.
Echoes of Violence may not leave a lasting impression, but it certainly deserves praise and recognition. Its goal in tackling issues of sexual abuse, the establishment of two-faced antagonists (which I imagine may ring terrifying for a female audience), and the simplistic, sequential way the story develops gives the viewer a nice, easy story to follow, and one with tremendous emotional depth. Without a doubt Woods gives you heroes to cheer for, villains to hate, and characters that seem to fall in between (and even redeem themselves). While its content isn’t strong enough to break any new dramatic rocks, it’s certainly worth experiencing the first time around.
[The 2021 Cinequest Film Festival ran March 20-30]