Ellektra review by The Grim Ringler

Having a chance to work with a film festival locally, and to see how that operates – and let me tell you, uh, yikes – had it’s good and bad points. The best thing for me was the chance to be able to see some amazing films from around the globe. While checking out films for the festival I was lucky enough to see this film from Belgium, a film that wowed me the first time and left me just as excited and exhausted after a second viewing with an audience.

Ellektra is a puzzle of a film. It tells the stories of six people, each one a stranger who is brought together by tragedy and by the will and magic of a teenage girl. A DJ, known for his intense beats, loses his hearing, a mother loses her child, a boy loses his ability to walk, a prostitute loses her tongue, a pianist loses her fingers, a perfumer loses his scent, and a teenage girl struggles with a father who is a criminal and who she believes got her mother killed. Each person is different save for their tragedy. They each become so lost in their loss that they forget that they are even living, pushing through each day in a sad routine that makes them all but ghosts. And so enters the teen girl, running from her father, she begins gathering stories of tragedies that, like the loss she has faced with her mother’s death, change a person’s life. But one day, instead of just collecting these stories, she decides to get involved in these lives. She decides to change these worlds. One by one she contacts the people via text message, asking each one – are you ready for this to end? Calling herself Ellektra, she creates a plan to change these people’s lives in ways they can’t even yet conceive, but she can only do this if she can stay away from her father’s henchman. Hot on her trail is a deranged pimp and killer that works for the girl’s father and he is willing to go as far as necessary to capture her. So while Ellektra works to breathe new life into these dying lives, she must also find hope in the guise of one of her targets, a woman who has lost everything, her child, her job, her life, and is now a slave to heroin, yet who may be the only person Ellektra can trust her safety to.

As much a thriller as it is a mystery film, this is a movie that absolutely floored everyone who saw it at the film festival. Wonderfully directed, allowing the film to play out while creating a tapestry of images that reflects the beauty of the story. A beautiful story of loss, second chances, and redemption, this is the kind of movie that should be playing art houses all over the world. There is a subtle music score that compliments but doesn’t overwhelm the film. There is a danger to the film, a feeling that anything could happen, and, by the time the film’s plotlines are coming together, there really is a sense of doom, that we don’t trust where the director is taking us. And for a change, that’s a good thing. There are no cheap tricks here, no mean games, this is just a story that is told on the razor’s edge, that could go either well or awful for the characters. This is damned good storytelling. I also love the use of the characters, never quite giving you their entire story, their entire motive, but letting you learn it over the course of the film.

The biggest slam I can say about the film is it’s a bit long, and a long foreign film can be trying. I think the length is justified though and that you need a little more space, and not that much extra, honestly, to flesh out this story. The story does get very, very dark as well, which will turn some viewers off, but it’s my hope that those that do get a chance to see this film will stick with it because the ending is very rewarding.

Sadly, this film is only on the festival circuit, for now, but it’s one to seek out if it comes anywhere near your town. A deep, heartbreaking film, this is the sort of thing that, if an American had made it, would be considered a contender for any number of awards. Think of this as what would happen if French filmmaker Jeunet and American P.T. Anderson had a movie baby. Emotional, magical, and hopefully a film that will touch you as much as it touched me and my friends.


9 out of 10 Jackasses
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