Jan 18, 2009


Early on, I found myself baring a remarkable attraction to the fruits of tragedy. To watch one's life being systematically destroyed from the inside out is something that draws ones full and undivided attention. In an episode of Gantz, we witness Kei Kurono's head land on a subway platform. In the blink of an eye, schoolgirls and businessmen draw their cellphone cameras to snap a picture of this morbid curiosity. The very same message can be said about nihilistic film making and with that I present Ellie.

Ellie is a rather dreary looking teenager of an unknown age. She lifts weights before heading off to catch the bus. Her angst bleeds through her sweaty tank top. As the tag line reads, some questions will be answered but many more will be asked. This 30 minute short film will inevitably explode into a cataclysmic tale with nowhere to turn but to stare yourself down in the mirror and question your very existence. I'd heard of many needing showers after watching films but Ellie left me feeling a level of filthy. One of which that no amount of soap would ever wash away.

In one scene, Ellie attempts to purchase whiskey at a general store. After being denied for lack of proper identification, a fellow convenience store worker asks "How bad do you want it?". For anyone that has experienced some trauma that "the real world" offers, we know what road this is heading down. Ellie is a self-conscious teenager and screams when her shirt is attempted to be removed. Each transpiring scene is more heart-wrenching than the last. The teenage rebellion starts off with baby steps, the beginning of nihilism if you will. First comes smoking, then drinking, then premarital sex. Then the events of Ellie get progressively worse. I'll leave it to your imagination to piece together the rest, that is caked in moral ambiguity.

Minimalism aside, Ellie is a masterwork in low budget film making. Taking cues from films like Thirteen and In My Skin, Ellie transforms destructive human potential into the true definition of an American tragedy - all this with a young bag of meat. Marking each viewer's soul with relentless imagery of a tortured child, Ellie is an exercise of an independently thought grand scheme reassessing depression into something unglamorized by popular media. My thanks to the vocally articulated ideas of director Matthew Garrett. Unannounced and practically unheard of, Ellie is one of the most toxic experiments I've ever witnessed.



Johnny said...

Well damn, you've piqued my interest. Where can I get my hands on a copy of this one?

Soiled Sinema said...

Triumphantly disturbing.

You can torrent a copy here:


Johnny said...


Fox said...

Sounds like I Stand Alone or Ex-Drummer from the female - in those films - perspectives.

Ellie sounds too brutal for me to take, but I like your take on it. Also I love and your attention to nihilist cinema in general (on other posts than this one...). It's a genre I typically abhor, but it's also abhorrent that mainstream critics haven't chronicled it enough.

For the record, I still struggle with Ex-Drummer everyday since I first say it last September. I'm supposed to hate that movie, but I wanna see it again right now. It's one of the most fascinating experiecnes I've had with a movie in quite some time.

willy jerk-off said...

i like the shot of her bending forward and grimmacing, its almost as though she`s being buggered.