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Stir of Echoes [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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AN ORDINARY FAMILY MAN IS PLAGUED WITH NEWFOUND CLAIRVOYANT VISIONS OF MURDER. AS THESE VISIONS START TO COME TRUE, HE COMES INTO CONTACT WITH SEVERAL DISTURBED SPIRITS. IN ORDER TO LET THEM REST IN PEACE, HE MUST BRING THEIR KILLERS TO JUSTICE, WITHOUT COMPROMISING HIS OWN SANITY.
The only real problem with Stir of Echoes has nothing to do with the movie itself, but with unlucky coincidence. Adapted from a Richard Matheson novel, this film arrived around the same time as The Sixth Sense. Surface similarities made it suffer by cursory comparison and the competing film's phenomenal success. It's a pity, because this one features one of Kevin Bacon's best performances, in a psychological thriller that makes a lot more right moves than wrong ones.
Bacon plays a blue-collar guy who laments his ordinary life, only to learn, when his sister-in-law (Ileanna Douglas) hypnotizes him, that he is a "receiver" capable of seeing spirits and split-second glimpses of past and future events. It's a torturous gift to have--especially since his friendly Chicago neighbourhood possesses a dark secret--and Bacon plays the role with an appropriate mixture of obsession and internalised torment. Similarity to The Sixth Sense applies only to the basic premise and the character of Bacon's young son. Otherwise, this is more of a hard-edged journey of self-discovery, marital crisis, and recovery, with Bacon's wife (played by the highly underrated Kathryn Erbe) involved in an underdeveloped sub-plot about a group of people who share Bacon's gift as paranormal "receivers". Furthering his career as a writer-director of intelligent thrillers, David Koepp makes a few mis-steps in pacing and thematic overkill, but overall Stir of Echoes is a sharp, sensitive thriller that unfolds to reveal a dramatically satisfying solution to its mystery. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.
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Kevin Bacon stars as Tom. Tom is an ordinary man who loves his family and is devoted to his job. The only thing he wishes is that he wasn't so ordinary. Everything drastically changes at a neighborhood party when Tom is hypnotized for a brief period of time. After that unforgettable night, Tom starts seeing things; haunting and violent images that he can't stop or ignore. He hears things that he cannot block from his eardrums. Later on, he discovers that what he is witnessing are possible puzzle pieces to an unspeakable crime that took place a while back. As Tom starts losing it and is determined to solve the unbearable puzzle that haunts him day and night, the more danger he puts him and his family into.
In a way, this was the movie that "Sixth Sense" was trying to be. I felt that this movie was a lot more shocking and haunting. The movie has great acting and a fabulous screenplay. This is a movie you may not want to watch late at night, unless you don't mind a nightmare or two. It's too bad that this movie came out the same time that "The Sixth Sense" did, otherwise it would've gotten more recognition; well deserved recognition at that.
This is a great thriller that should've received a hell of a lot more recognition. Rent or buy this one as soon as you can. If you love a dark thriller, then you will not be disappointed. Be warned; there are some shocking and disturbing images that may be hard to stomach for some; not for those who get disturbed easily. "Stir of Echoes" is filled with thrills and surprises that you won't want to miss. It also has an excellent plot with a surprising climax. An easy 5 out of 5 stars, without question.
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