One might wonder why a movie like "Elephant" exists. If a film is unwilling to do anything besides essentially recreate a tragedy, with no scrutinizational strings attached to its incendiary self, why be released at all? Evidently, Van Sant wants us to be active viewers. He wants us to be the ones to decide what the prime motivation of its antagonists is, what the repercussions for those involved looked like following the incident. By sidestepping resolution, we have to fill in the majority of the blanks ourselves. It's a conversation piece of a film, seemingly simplistic until a thirsting to dissect it makes it something furtively substantial.
"Elephant" isn't a movie made for everyone - some will find its near clinical approach reprehensible, and others, if not offended by its intentional dryness, will find it fatiguing, at least until its disconcerting conclusion. Van Sant's extensive use of long-winded tracking shots (mostly utilized as a way to mundanely follow characters as they move from point A to point B, thus bringing out the paranoia that rests impatiently in our being as we wait) are a lot to take in, and the sparse dialogue forces us to attempt to delve into the minds of characters that are already too thinly drawn to truly understand anyway.
But Van Sant's disturbingly naturalistic approach is what makes "Elephant" so consuming. Its characters, all kids you'd find in any high school in America - the introverts, the relentlessly bullied, the artistic, the eating disorder afflicted - are instantaneously recognizable. But here, even the confident basketball star who walks through the halls during times of trouble is not impervious to the dangers of young monsters who are hazards to themselves and others.
And in an age where gun violence is more pressing of a cultural issue than ever, "Elephant" should serve as a graphic reminder as to why the gratuitous usage of arms is such an ugly point of conflict in American society. (Notice how easily the film's villains obtain their weapons - it's merely a matter of ordering from the right website.) Movie violence, with its peppering of heroism and machismo, is not to be found here. "Elephant's" violence is immediate, ruthless, inane. If the movie is hard to access and sometimes too dramatically barren to serve as anything else besides a disquieting take on the Day in a Life motif of cinema, it's at least a conclusive conversation starter. Only a filmmaker of Van Sant's exploratory resolve could have made a film of its caliber and make it all come across as instigative instead of irresponsibly provocative.
Pero, no se las recomiendo a todo el mundo.
It came out after the Columbine tragedy and I think it is disgusting that this film tries to somehow capitalize and evoke empathy from a serious real-life tragedy.
There is little dialogue in this film. As such, it is very realistic and believable. Simply, the visual story of a couple of outcasts who organize a mass slaughter at their high school. They are spiritually devoid human beings and are presented as everyday kids. They are able to arm themselves enough to wipe out much of the student population.
The title means nothing. This film means nothing. I hope it is not viewed by children who learn from it to carry out a copycat catastrophe. Some losers may look at this film and find it intriguing to emulate. If this is ever acted upon, the filmmaker Gus Van Sant should be jailed for life. Shame on him for this production. This piece of trash should never have been released in wide distribution.
Unmistakably a closer look at the horrific Columbine High School shooting on April 20th 1999 four years before the film.
The film has such an authentic feel to it which makes the horror all the more real. A chilling film that is incredibly crafted...a true social comment.
Gus Van Sant's powerfully unnerving film about two high school misfits, Alex and Eric well played by Alex Frost and Eric Deulen, who calmly plan a mass execution of their class mates and school administers like the massacre at Columbine. The real strength in this film lies in its power of observation, we get a brief glimpse into the young killers personalities, who are sexually confused, Hitler-loving dweebs, who get off on playing single-person shooting video games. But what makes it all the more chilling is that they don't seem any different from any of the other high schoolers. Brilliant cinematography by Harris Sadvides with those long steady-cam tracking shots really do a great job of putting you with the characters, as they walk the long endless corridors of their high school murdering innocent people. The supporting cast of mostly unknown actors all deliver fine naturalistic performances. I think the most disturbing scene in the film is when one of the killers turns to the other and tells him, "Most important, have fun man!" just before they begin their mass killing spree. Winner of the Golden Palm at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. A starling and unforgettable motion picture. Highly Recommended.
THIS MOVIE ILLUSTRATES IN AMAZING DETAIL THE TRAGIC EVENTS WHERE TWO STUDENTS PLANNED AND ORCHESTRATED A MASSACRE IN THEIR HIGH SCHOOL LOCATED IN PORTLAND, OREGON!!
THIS MOVIE IS BASED ON THE TRAGIC TRUE STORY OF THE COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL MASSACRE IN COLUMBINE, COLORADO WHERE THE MASSACRE ACTUALLY TOOK PLACE!!