- Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Tom Petty
- Eric Barrett, Andrew Slater
- Andrew Slater
- PG-13 (United States)
- Running Time
- 82 minutes
- Release Date
- May 24th, 2019
It’s been a great time for music docs recently, and with Bob and Jakob Dylan both fronting their own bands right now, it seems like we’ve peaked.
After receiving minimal buzz following its premiere at the LA Film Festival nearly a year ago and garnering not much talk since, the industry has been taken by shock with the success of Echo in the Canyon. With an opening weekend per theater average that was just under a whopping $60k, many members of the industry were left wondering about the film and what it had to offer. Although it’s hard to say why it did THAT well, Echo in the Canyon is undoubtedly a solid film that shines in the sea full of mediocre capitalist summer blockbusters.
Echo in the Canyon doesn’t play out like your typical, talking head, information overload documentary, instead of following the trend set by other documentaries from earlier this year such as Apollo 11 and another featuring narrator Jakob Dylan’s father, Bob Dylan in Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Revue. In this film, we see it swap back and forth between big name musicians (some seen are David Crosby, Ringo Starr and Beck) reflecting on their experience as musicians part of this movement, as well as Jakob Dylan performing covers of some of their songs.
This direction would allow for a more compelling experience – the idea at the center of it all isn’t too complex, and the way Slater creates a balance between the interviews and the music is quite impressive. The aspects of the film that feature for example, the likes of Crosby and Starr telling stories about their time in the California music scene is quite entertaining – but at the core of Echo in the Canyon are the music performances, and they are what bring tremendous cinematic quality to the table.
As light and entertaining as it is, Echo in the Canyon still continues to feel like it’s missing something throughout its relatively short running time. The best way to explain this was that the film simply doesn’t have that much to say, and it doesn’t really provide any information about the musical movement it discusses that is truly insightful or life changing. While the film is definitely a sweet time at the movies with an incredibly brisk running time, the film will surely leave many audiences asking why it needs to exist.
At the end of the day, Echo in the Canyon is a moderately pleasurable time at the movies, elevated by some awesome musical performances, but on the other side, it’s hard to say you’re missing out if you skip this one.
*still courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment*