By Eric Kohn | Criticwire March 9, 2012 at 3:24PM
More and more films premiere on Video on Demand -- if they don't simply bypass a theatrical release altogether. Because VOD reviews are often scarce and hard to find, Criticwire created VODetails, a recurring column to help you figure out whether a new VOD release is worth your hard-earned dollar. This time we're looking at "Echotone," a documentary that looks at how urban development and SXSW--which, not coincidentally, starts today--have impacted Austin's creative class.
Director: Nathan Christ
Cast: Bill Baird, Cari Palazzolo
Official Synopsis: "Internationally known as 'The Live Music Capital of the World,' Austin's music culture has led it to become one of the world's most sought-after destinations. As nearly two dozen high-rises pop up throughout the city amidst economic downfall, how does the working musician get along? This lyrical documentary provides a telescopic view into the lives of Austin's vibrant young musicians as they grapple with questions of artistic integrity, commercialism, experimentation, and the future of their beloved city. Directed by Nathan Christ and photographed by Robert Garza, 'Echotone' is a cultural portrait of the modern American city examined through the lyrics and lens of its creative class."
"A representative, if frustratingly impressionistic, regional-cultural update on Austin's now epochal music scene."
"The realities in Nathan Christ’s impressive documentary 'Echotone' are, sadly, nothing new. But the emotions surrounding them are nevertheless compelling."
"The film doesn’t necessarily provide answers, allowing the viewer to leave with his or her own opinions, and maybe even solutions. We clearly see the eternal struggle between the city’s population boom and its longstanding role as a defender of live music."
There's a potentially fascinating and appreciably more concise 60-minute documentary to be found somewhere amid the uneven and unfocused 88-minute hodgepodge that is 'Echotone.'"
"Echotone" is now available on Hulu.