Echidna review by Amelia Vandergast, March 2017
It’s not often we’re graced with a true masterpiece and conceptual short Echidna serves to transport the audience into the uncertain mind of not just the actor on screen but into the intrepid existences of actors as they vow to appease your viewing desires. Shot in monochrome, the silence screams the vivacity of hunger of actors as they contort themselves into creatures within the aesthetic minefield of casting calls. The subversive depth allows you to hear the internal monologue of the actor, the pain and the anguish inside the processes that actors go through in their daily lives. You’ve got no option but to feel the emotions brought to you on screen and your heart beats in sync with the trepidation of the monologue.
Echidna is the creation of Australian actor Sonny-Joe Flanagan, whose proven talents lie on both sides of the lens as he teams up with SJF Films and Johns Management for this venture. Sonny confronts the camera to detail his experiences of being an actor and the monologue serves to prove the importance of embracing all of the opportunities you gain as an actor. The message is an inspiration to revel in the life experience that fear and rejection grant you to become stronger than you’d expect.
The metaphor of actors being like Pokemon, evolving as we grow, as our abilities level up was a sensational way of inviting the audience to visualise their own strength, and harness the power that they’ve gained through growing as a person. Sonny offers himself admirably to us as a window into the soul of the actor and I hope the film shows the viewer the battle they fight to get into your living room, so you can feel the same passion as they do in their acting.
Flanagan’s short film appeases the psyche of the fellow creative, allowing the viewer to experience the emotional journey of a fellow actor. Painting the portrait of a sinking ship, waiting for it to capsize in the harsh winds of the big screen and beyond into the entertainment industry. The film’s message is one that surely resonates who know the creative struggle, how hard it is to pick yourself up from the floor, and find that momentum to go for broke and get to where you need to be.
In reflection, we all have our own experiences whilst trying to claw our way into our visions of success and the short eloquently encapsulates the message you are not alone in the creative struggle. Even though the silence in your life may be resounding, you may have alienated yourself with your passion, your friends and family may have shunned you (as they might with a heroin addicted uncle) it’s still worth it. Actors are driven by the adrenaline that fuels their addiction to ticking the boxes, selling their soul in the space of a 3 minute audition, you can see why it’s easy to get hooked.
One of the strongest moments of Echidna is how the actor portrays his aesthetic struggle, it’s something we’ve all had to deal with. At some point in our lives we’ve not been perfect enough to fulfil a role or we don’t fit the role call. This sparks a bout of serious doubt as we curse our genetics for defying the demands of the entertainment industry. By bringing this topic to light in his film, Sonny may just have proven that it’s about time we closed curtains on making square pegs fitting round holes. We’re all creatures of vulnerability with dreams of what we want to be and he’s an inspiration to artists across the world to reinvent your reality by paving the paths that you choose.
Join his campaign to ignite immersive solidarity amongst the dreamers. To show your support to the indie artists and follow Joe & his future creative endeavours on the links below:
You can watch the world exclusive premiere on YouTube, on the much anticipated release date of the 13th of March 2017, but first watch the trailer: