Great & legendary icon names of the Action genre like those of Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and the Arnold Schwarzenegger meet your match – documentarian Jaret Belliveau would like to present to you Elliot “White Lighting” Scott, Canada’s greatest martial artist – yes, really…
As the centralized character of Belliveau’s just-Premiered feature during this year’s Slamdance Film Festival, Elliot Scott is not only a one-man stop for all things moviemaking, but has some decent credentials for backing up his claim as Canada’s first Action Hero – or, so we are told. When the film opens, Scott is prepping to tackle his third feature length film astutely named Blood Fight, a super low budget B-movie which will be the directors largest undertaking to date. What follows is both a journey of motivations, delusions which ultimately reveals the study in personal truths & psychosis that ends in such a severe turn of events to prove the raw power that filmmaking can create.
Firstly, turn off your brain to what you may think that martial arts films tend to be. Belliveau’s outing, along with Scott’s true sincerity here proves that even if something isn’t completely talent-filled or with the highest of production, the end result still can be honest & worthy of value – “it’s respectable cheese”. With this in mind, what starts as an introspective dedication to a fallible figure whose ideas of grandeur are nothing more than innocent stories & a fanatical love for moviemaking, into the film of Elliot becoming a completely different viewing experience where Belliveau & co-creator Matthew Bauckman’s Kickstarter project engrossingly reveals a shocking character study in self deception & honesty in the views of those who surround our lives.
Despite often stretching the pacing in Elliot to feel longer than it’s 90 min. running time, and with some characters that don’t feel completely original given today’s rich landscape of documentary characters since the dawn of reality TV, Belliveau & Co. still manage to cram in a hefty storyline that flows freely for two acts and ties-in closely to something along the lines of American movie. This however is where the roads start to split as (whether by happenstance or brilliant choice) our filmmaking team begin to insert themselves into the World of Scott. Hard to describe without giving full disclosure but needless to say, viewers end up in a result which no doubt resembles something way closer to last year’s Stories We Tell, and will invariably be a talking point for all audiences who take in this piece. Yes, its effective and its gripping but at the end one leaves with a sense of questioning to the complete authenticity or motivations to the piece of work at hand.
Overall Elliot is a documentary that offers some hilariously wonderful moments of incredible fun to take in. Belliveau offers a character study that will sympathetically stay with you until you relive the more despicable moments in the film’s central character as he attempts to conquer his largest filmmaking experience. And at the end of it all, viewers will take away that in the day and age we live self deception really may be all we have left to guide us to being our own personal star – just ask Elliot Scott’s Nine Hundred rabid fans on Facebook.