Ellipse Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
Released by Bland Productions
Directed by Joe Bland and Grant Martin
Written by Grant Martin
2019, 76 minutes, Not Rated
Released on November 5th, 2019
Grant Martin as Rauge
Michelle Medoff as Emma
Jack William as “Mac”
Grieving widower Rauge (pronounced “Rawj”) has hit the bottle hard, which isn’t a great idea as a space pilot surveying new planets. When he crashes on Ellipse, an oblong planet, the gravitational variation causing accelerated aging doesn’t particularly concern Rauge in his self-destruction, but the damage it’s doing to his beloved middle-aged dog Mac is a crisis. Desperate to keep his best friend by his side, Rauge must traverse the chaotic gravitational terrains of Ellipse to get Mac off the planet before it’s too late and he loses everything.
Ellipse is not what I’d call a bare-bones movie with its green screen and CGI effects, but the intimacy of having one main character and one main dog on screen for the majority of the movie makes it feel very small – despite being set over two planets. Grant Martin (Rauge) isn’t a particularly strong actor, but he does a functional job in a tough role. The dialogue can be a bit clunky as they find methods for Rauge to espouse exposition. Further, it’s not particularly about science; Ellipse takes the liberty of reversing the law of time dilation for its plot. Despite those shortcomings, the story of the relationship between a man and his dog makes Ellipse infinitely watchable.
What makes this script stand out are the contradictions hidden in plain sight. For example, it’s hinted Rauge had a drinking problem before his wife Emma (Michelle Medoff) died suddenly; he’s haunted by his regret, so while it’s not surprising that he’d run to space with a case of beer under each arm, it is surprising he’d take the dog they shared. It suggests he secretly wants to run toward those memories, even if they hurt. Going on, he’d gladly beeline toward self-destruction, sacrificing at least ten years in the high-gravity field for a handle of booze, but the moment Mac is willing to do the same to get him, Rauge does everything he can to reverse the effects. These contradictions are the heart of grief; wanting to be free of the pain of what we lost while clinging desperately to the memories of what we treasured. I’ve rarely seen a sci-fi movie devoted to something so difficult to discuss as death and grief. It’s a refreshing and intriguing way to examine the chaotic and confused way we deal with the ultimate pain.
If you’re looking for a splashy sci-fi movie this isn’t it. This is a thoughtful drama disguised in a spacesuit. But if you like facing your fears of loss and learning to accept the inevitable, you will appreciate Ellipse.
And cry a lot.
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