The new directorial debut by one of Australia’s favourite actors David Wenham is not your average ‘boy meets girl’ love story.
In fact the two main characters never actually kiss in the film.
However, Ellipsis is a remarkable movie that leaves the audience moved in a way that is almost unique.
Shot in just seven days around various parts of Sydney, including Kings Cross and Bondi Beach, Wenham himself describes the film as ‘experimental’.
The two main characters are literally ‘thrown together’ when young Sydney man Jasper (superbly played by Benedict Samuel) accidentally crashes into Viv (Emily Barclay) on a busy Sydney pedestrian crossing.
Viv’s mobile phone goes flying – smashing onto the road – and the result is the enthralling chain of events that is Ellipsis.
Wenham’s film is shot on just two cameras, with nearly all of the scenes ‘one take’, i.e. no retakes, with the actors appearing more natural and unrehearsed as a result of this.
Wenham also uses real people in the movie or, as he calls them ‘the ‘characters of Kings Cross’; an area Wenham himself has called home for the past 20 years.
Interestingly, it is these real people, such as John Leonard – a zany and eccentric street person, and the disabled, ‘mohawk-sporting’ middle-aged lounge lizard Dean – that really add to the film.
Perhaps this is why Ellipsis is so different, as it is a refreshing and very ‘un-Hollywood’ low-budget movie that succeeds on so many levels.
The 24-hours Jasper and Viv spend together exploring the best and worst sides of Sydney are never dull or boring.
From finding a lost Afghan hound near Bondi Beach, to cavorting with drag queens in a Kings Cross nightclub, or exploring a seedy, back-street sex shop, their relationship grows stronger by the hour.
They are the ultimate free spirits, unshackled and set free to taste both the delights and tribulations of a city that, like New York, never sleeps.
The 24-hours they spend together are also tempered by a back-story – a tale of hardship and frustration surrounding the Asian mobile phone repairer (and new immigrant) that Viv engages to fix her broken phone.
His life is not such a happy one as he copes with a nagging wife, truculent, rebellious daughter and ageing mother, while also attempting to pass the Australian immigration test!
There is also the small matter of Viv’s fiancé in the UK: the long-term lover she is supposed to be flying back to see the next morning.
And while these questions may not necessarily be answered in the film, the synergy between Viv and Jasper suggests there may actually be more to their relationship in the longer term.
As Wenham himself says at the post-movie, Q & A session held at the Luna Leederville premiere, the contents of the note Viv gives Jasper at the end of the film are not disclosed.
This leaves the outcome of the film completely up to the audience: a nice touch, and a fitting tribute to a truly unique and remarkable Australian film.
By Mike Peeters