I was never good at answering those “who is your favorite” questions. The most difficult for me is when it comes to something like favorite director. In recent years, however, one filmmaker that sticks out in my mind much more than others is Gareth Evans. I recently learned of his first-ever feature film, Footsteps, and decided to give it a watch.
Andrew is in a downward spiral after his father is in a terrible accident. Afraid to get close to anyone, things only get worse when Andrew pushes his girlfriend away and loses his job. With no idea on how to cope, Andrew is dragged deeper and deeper into despair, somehow finding himself involved with a group of men who profit off of snuff films.
Gareth Evans always had a proclivity towards violence. Before it was realized in his hyper-violent, expertly choreographed The Raid films, it was manifested in a low-budget effort involving snuff films. It isn’t the violence that takes center stage in his 2006 directorial debut, however.
Footsteps is much more focused on the experiences of 20-something Andrew, played by Nicholas Bool. With very little dialogue, Bool is forced to portray Andrew’s emotions through facial expressions, body language, and other forms of gesturing or lack thereof. While this makes for an interesting way of developing a character, it isn’t a very enthralling experience for audiences watching a low-budget indie flick.
Before Evans re-located to Indonesia and really developed himself as a filmmaker, he wrote, produced, and directed Footsteps. It is plagued with everything that almost all independent films on a shoestring budget are — sub-par sound design and camera work, less experienced actors, and poor overall quality.
While I don’t see myself giving Footsteps another watch anytime soon, I am glad I experienced Gareth Evans’ first venture into filmmaking. It has its negatives for sure, but it is always nice to see where someone started, especially because I have loved all of his more recent work.
If you are a fan of Evans like I am, I would recommend giving this film a chance. It is available on DVD from the good folks over at Unearthed Films and can be purchased for a very reasonable price. It also happens to feature a fair amount of bonus material including interviews with cast and crew, where you can see a baby-faced Evans himself discussing the film.
I give Footsteps 1.5 smelly tote bags out of 5.