Ellie Parker (2005) Directed by Scott Coffey. With Naomi Watts, Jennifer Syme, Scott Coffey and Greg Frietas.
Written and directed by Scott Coffey and starring Naomi Watts in the title role, Ellie Parker is an intimate insight into the world of a struggling Hollywood actress who’s own fragmented sense of identity and failing ability to achieve balance in her real life relationships causes all manner of turmoil.
Shot entirely on digital video, much of it handheld, Coffey’s film wobbles, loses focus and has the look of something anyone with a basic understanding of shot sequencing could cut together. What makes the film special is Naomi Watts, who seems to be playing an alternate reality version of herself. After having won acclaim for her startling portrayal of ‘Betty’ in David Lynch’s Mullholland Drive, Watts once again shows her calibre as an actress with a gutsy and committed display of raw talent.
In many ways, Ellie Parker works as a perfect companion piece to Mulholland Drive as we follow Watts through awkward auditions and witness her neurotic behaviour giving way to mini emotional implosions. Watts demonstrates great courage and faith in those around her by flinging herself head first into the surreal drama, while never losing her way with the character. The entire film is about her performance and despite things getting occasionally bogged down, Watts’ ‘on the edge’ display is never far from compelling throughout. The film’s aimless structure juxtaposes well with its character’s scattered brain. Ellie Parker is an interesting piece held aloft by the distinguished performance of its willing star and for that reason alone deserves to be seen. 3/5