ECCO Image


By Jason Delgado | November 4, 2022

Whenever I see an assassin movie like writer/director Ben Medina’s ECCO, co-written by star Lathrop Walker, I cannot help but think of the king of modern-day hitmen, John Wick. This film wisely does not try to outdo that hit franchise on the action front (especially on an independent film budget) but instead goes for more of a psychological approach. As a result, there are many flashbacks, and the pieces to the puzzle can be hazy at times until you get to the third act. This means patience is a must if you want to truly enjoy it.

Walker plays Michael, a mysterious and brooding former hitman, trying to put together memories from his past while protecting his new family from his former employers. We see flashbacks of Michael in love with his former girlfriend Aubrey (Helen Grace Donald), a seductive photographer. She looks strikingly similar to his new, pregnant wife, Abby (Tabitha Bastien). Coincidence? Maybe, but maybe not.

The theme underneath the assassin’s exterior is love and loss. What lengths would you go to for your family? Michael’s pain is deep, but so is his love for his wife and child. Walker does an excellent job of emoting those deep-seated feelings on screen. There’s a twist, and how the actor handles it, along with the intense feelings of his usually otherwise stoic character that come along with the unfolding drama, are my favorite part of the movie.

“…a mysterious and brooding former hitman, trying to put together memories from his past…”

Unfortunately, the length of ECCO, at a runtime of over two hours, is too long. It would have been better served as a 90-minute movie. It feels slow and too confusing at times, so if the pacing was tightened up and the narrative was a bit clearer, I feel like the finale’s impact could have hit harder than it already does. In the opening sequence, we see Michael hijack a plane while killing the passengers onboard. In the next scene, he’s on a boat, playing poker, and there’s no explanation or link between these two events.

Those seeking a pure action flick will be disappointed, but the action that is featured is well done. The cinematography by Duncan Cole is fantastic at setting the mood for the dark mystery the audience is in store for. I love a good mystery/psychological drama such as Memento, but even that Christopher Nolan film made more sense on the initial viewing. It famously starts at the end and works its way back to the beginning. That movie is fun to go back and rewatch to see things that you initially missed. I believe ECCO will have a similar rewatchable quality because of the twist.

Ultimately, ECCO adds up to an enjoyable experience if you let it be. I think Medina wanted an air of confusion to add to the mystery of it all for the viewer, but how much of that can an audience handle? Everyone is different in that regard, which leads me to conclude that a wide range of reactions is to be expected. My natural patience came in handy, so the slow burn worked out in the end for me.

For screening information, visit the ECCO official website.

ECCO (2019)

Directed: Ben Medina

Written: Ben Medina, Lathrop Walker

Starring: Lathrop Walker, Helen Grace Donald, Tabitha Bastien, Michael Winters, Vincent Cardinale, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

ECCO Image

"…the action that is featured is well done."

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