Echoes is at its best when at its most natural, especially in the first half [2009 note: I thought its second half was a little flat and less interesting] – the people of this neighborhood visit with each other, they make jokes, they feel like a little community. These details work.
At times the film also successfully blends the natural and the supernatural. The best case is a love-making scene between Kathryn Erbe and Kevin Bacon [as a working-class Chicago couple]. What happens is, Bacon is dealing with weird thoughts that came into his mind while hypnotized. His wife, though, is in the mood, and soon he gets that way, too; but these ugly thoughts [really a murder victim’s memories] keep intruding. Erbe, who doesn’t know what’s troubling her husband, is open to making him more comfortable, trying to counteract his worries. When he says he can’t continue because “It’s too weird,” she gamely suggests, “I can show you weird.” That’s love: love should have a sense of humor.
Even in the enjoyable recent remake of The Thomas Crown Affair, the love scenes with Rene Russo and Pierce Brosnan – almost Olympic, they were so energetic – didn’t feel nearly as much like love as this one scene.
FLASHBACKS: Stir of Echoes inspires a thought about love, 10/12/1999
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