Hunter Doohan in “Soundwave.” Photo credit: Foggy Bottom Pictures
This film is publicized by Bunker 15 Films (www.bunker15films.com) . Bunker 15 helps connect indie films to entertainment journalists and critics in order to provide said films with press, something that can be hard to receive when you are a small film crew.
Directed by: Dylan K. Narang
Written by: Dylan K. Narang
Starring: Hunter Doohan, Katie Owsley, Paul Tassone, Mike Beaver, Vince Nappo, Andrew Bongiorno, Dwight Hicks, Markus Taylor, John Hawkinson, Robert Towers
Soundwave follows Ben (Hunter Doohan) a young inventor who creates a way to listen to old soundwaves, virtually creating a way to hear anything that has happened in anyone’s lives. But whereas he created the device to learn about the disappearance and death of his father, others want the device to bring havoc to the world.
The film is a slow-burn that might give indie sci-fi fans shades of Primer, the 2004 film by Shane Carruth. Both are intimate and earnest in the way that indie films can be. Also, like Primer, the film poses a question often asked by sci-fi–if you could make something no one has ever seen or heard before, should you? (Case in point: the tagline for Primer is, “What happens if it actually works?)
Soundwave builds on that question by asking another question–if you could hear something that happened in the past, would you actually want to? Do you actually need to? Is defining your life by a past event worth it, and could it irrevocably damage your future?
If I answer those questions I’d be giving away large portions of the plot, so I’ll leave those answers up to you to figure out by watching the film. Regardless, know that Soundwave is a film that will slowly pull you in as you begin to think about the ethics of being able to hear everything and how one message could change your life for better or worse.
Overall, I found the film to be engaging, if not a tad slow in the beginning. But I appreciated it for its commitment to the conceit of its soundwave device and the methods it used for grounding it in the real world. I also appreciate the characterizations the cast, led by Doohan, gave their characters, which elevated the film.
Viewers who might have some issues with seeing women constantly play girlfriend characters might have some opinions on Katie (Katie Owsley) who becomes part of Ben’s on-the-run life largely because she’s written to be his love interest. However, Katie does have her own set of motives for wanting to Ben’s invention.
Overall, if you like discovering new sci-fi films, give Soundwave a try; its focus on realism despite the fantastical, plus its focus on character, will keep you intrigued.