Though its oddly punctuated title may denote a grimy exploitation piece, Shane Ryan’s “Warning!!! Pedophile Release” is a much stranger animal — a noble yet ultimately unsuccessful attempt at an elegiac art film, studded with grimy exploitation material along the way. Consisting mostly of handheld footage of characters walking aimlessly and staring off into space, the pic has moments of surprising resonance, yet it’s hard to imagine it finding much of an audience.
Opening with the horrific gang rape of a 15-year-old girl (co-scripter Kai Lanette), the pic settles into an unexpectedly soothing rhythm, following her as she meanders, dazed, across riverbeds and highways. Were this first reel to stand alone as a short, it would be a genuinely haunting portrait of the peaceful manner in which some people respond to terrible violence. Yet the film quickly sputters, as Echo’s true love (Ryan), falsely imprisoned for molesting her, returns from prison, and the two find little to do to pass the remaining time. Consistent tone is frequently lost, particularly with a late scene that seems included solely to display porn star Joanna Angel in the nude. One-man tech contributions are artful.