Elephant Reviews

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Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
May 21, 2003
The film lacks insight. We learn nothing that advances our understanding of these tragedies beyond the initial news reports.
Nick Schager
Lessons of Darkness
May 3, 2005
A morally dubious waiting game.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
May 29, 2003
To make a film about something like the Columbine student shootings incident and provide no insight or enlightenment would seem to be pointless at best and irresponsible at worst, and that is what Gus Van Sant has done in Elephant.
Brian Orndorf
FilmJerk.com
March 16, 2004
I recognize the artistic exercise that director Gus Van Sant is trying to undertake with Elephant. But that's no excuse for Van Sant to put the audience through 80 minutes of something, and then have it add up to absolutely nothing.
Full Review | Original Score: D-
Amber Wilkinson
Eye for Film
February 2, 2004
For a story about a shooting, Van Sant completely misses the target.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
Rob Blackwelder
SPLICEDWire
November 4, 2003
...has so little to say about (school shootings) and the culture which produces them that it becomes paradoxically tedious once the killing starts.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Dan Jardine
Cinemania
February 23, 2004
Beautifully made, but ultimately a pretty facile treatment of a deadly serious tragedy
Full Review | Original Score: 59/100
Kent Turner
Film-Forward.com
April 9, 2004
This slight film raises questions that it doesn't explore, let alone answer. Far from probing, there's barely any character or theme development.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
October 30, 2003
The movie itself has no feeling.
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
November 7, 2003
I don't think Van Sant's movie provides us with enough of an answer to be regarded as anything more than an experiment.
| Original Score: C
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
November 7, 2003
As movies go, it's wholly predictable, occasionally and intentionally dull, and apparently quite lazy.
| Original Score: D
November 7, 2003
Elephant is hard to forget, it's just too bad it doesn't have more to say.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Sean Burns
Philadelphia Weekly
November 19, 2003
The answer is there are no answers and the point is there's no point. A noble sentiment, but one that begs the unfortunate question: why make the movie in the first place?
Joshua Tanzer
Offoffoff
October 8, 2003
Elephant carries the tag line 'an ordinary high school day. Except that it's not.' And that's kind of a problem - the movie is too mundane for its subject matter.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Jurgen Fauth
About.com
October 10, 2003
Brutal and pointless.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/5
Lewis Beale
Film Journal International
September 20, 2003
In opting for style over substance, [Van Sant] has produced one of the most vacuous and irresponsible films of the year.
Mary Colbert
Boxoffice Magazine
October 5, 2003
Elephant's detachment leaves us feeling short-changed.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Eugene Novikov
Film Blather
September 3, 2003
I would have been happy to just sit back and watch a master filmmaker recreate these events -- maybe five years from now, or ten.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Donald J. Levit
ReelTalk Movie Reviews
October 14, 2003
Interesting as filmmaking per se but fails to hold up in its professedly objective treatment of a homegrown facet of violence.
Oz
eFilmCritic.com
October 6, 2003
Elephant is nearly aptly named - it's slow and plodding... but it's not nearly as heavy as you'd hope.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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