Elephant - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Elephant Reviews

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October 10, 2017
If you are going to watch a good movie about A school shooting watch We Need To Talk About Kevin not this hunch of pretentious shit.
September 5, 2017
It's incredible that in a mere 81 minutes Elephant establishes its own, dark environment while thoroughly developing its characters by awakening the viewer's five senses. A disturbing revelation of cinematic tableau.
May 15, 2017
130820: Unique story telling. I like the non-linear nature of how you get to know the various students involved via the camera literally following them around; how their paths intersect. I found myself anxiously waiting, particularly during close ups, for gunshots to go off.
May 7, 2017
A gentle story weaving an unconventional narrative with efficiency and a stoic atmosphere. Gus Van Sant's brilliant anti-violence sentiment rings quietly, but can certainly be heard.
½ April 28, 2017
moda najgori film koji sam pogledao u ivotu. Sje?anje na njega je jednako mrsko kao pri prvom (ujedno i jedinom) gledanju
½ April 21, 2017
What in the fuck did I just watch?
April 9, 2017
you look at the back of people's heads while they are walking. Then at the end something finally happens.
February 9, 2017
Mostly done with amateur actors and a very sad film about school shooting. Disturbing, but very delicatly put to screen. This is an haunting experience, that even won an award at Cannes. People are slaughtering it for being boring, but for me this is not ment to be an entertaining piece in the first place.

I have not seen too many Van Sant films, but this is probably the best effort from him that I have seen. Michael Haneke's "Der siebente Kontinent" is more depressive still a similiar film - but this is slightly better for me, especially if I keep the killing part of that film in mind. I absolutely dig the constant movement, long tracking shots done with steadycam. It's also really nice with several scenes done many times with different perspectives - naturaly many shots done, being as identical as the last one as possible.

Nice and short, good dialogue - and a fantastic way of storytelling. Horrible action, you know it will happen, but you don't know how or who that will get killed. A great final scene too. Not easy to catch the title, but I've read that the two killers are "Elephants in a room". That makes sense, I guess.

8 out of 10 high schools cafeterias.
½ January 2, 2017
Gus Van Sant slowly builds a burning tension on a fact-based tragedy in a unconventional style.
December 3, 2016
Second time seeing this. Hard to watch, but a must see. It's based partially on the columbine shooting if anyone is interested.
½ November 29, 2016
Complete waste of time and utter shit-eeeeeeeee.
½ August 26, 2016
It already takes a lot of balls to make a movie directly inspired by the callous Columbine massacre of 1999, but to write and direct that said movie with no message, no overt sensationalism, and no cerebral explanation in mind is even ballsier. Helmed by Gus Van Sant ("My Own Private Idaho," "Good Will Hunting"), the legendary chameleon of indie, 2003's "Elephant" is so brilliant because it so unhesitantly refuses to view its focused upon day's tragic events through anything other than a helpless, almost detached lens. Unimportant is the analyzation of the killers' psyches; unimportant is the emotional aftermath. The film is more engrossed with seeing the shooting as it transpires, watching feebly as senseless violence takes the lives of rosy cheeked youths, so full of vigor and potential.
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.
½ July 2, 2016
Fantastic. It's nice to see a movie that focuses on the innocent victims of a senseless tragedy, as much as the perpetrators. 4.5 out of 5
½ June 27, 2016
Because the film does the bold and essential thing by merely observing rather than justifying or evangelizing, Elephant does not end once the movie is over; it lingers and needs to be discussed.
June 6, 2016
Un experimento suma y relativamente, interesante y hasta cierto punto, estremecedora.
Pero, no se las recomiendo a todo el mundo.
April 12, 2016
Gus Van Sant's Elephant, though a rapturous and terrifying memorial to the Columbine massacre, brings nothing to the discussion on high-school violence. No causes, no solutions, no moral or intellectual perspective, none of the facile politicking that immediately followed in the incident's wake. Those looking for answers, or even insights, are certain to be disappointed by Van Sant's audacious experiment, which offers a delicate and uninflected meditation on high-school life during a not-so-ordinary day. A natural companion piece to Gerry, his minimalist landscape film about two men lost in the desert, Elephant creates gorgeous, wide-open spaces that allow viewers the freedom to reflect without having a point-of-view imposed on them. In that sense, the film does the important service of stealing Columbine back from pundits and politicians on both ends of the ideological spectrum, all of whom seized upon the event so opportunistically. With ace cinematographer Harris Savides' elegant Steadicam prowling the halls, Van Sant quietly restores some humanity to the victims and perpetrators alike, if only to account for their existence. Using a mostly non-professional cast, he tracks all the students involved in this fateful day, which begins with mundane routine and ends in bloody mayhem. Because there's no time to get past first impressions and truly understand these characters, many appear as Breakfast Club-like stereotypes (The Jock, The Nerd, The Bulimic Princesses), reduced to their place on the high-school caste system. Van Sant spends more time with John Robinson, a wispy blond boy who looks out for his alcoholic father (Timothy Bottoms), and Elias McConnell, a yearbook photographer with an unerring eye for beauty. In the film's most problematic sequence, he also follows the two killers (Alex Frost and Eric Deulen) in the moments leading up to the massacre, using the opportunity to check off all the usual "causes"-violent video games, gun proliferation, Nazism, repressed sexuality-that are commonly attached to such rampages. But collectively, all the players are brought together under the same umbrella, their lives intersecting in a way that none of them could have anticipated. While it seems that Van Sant is merely leading his lambs to the slaughter, Elephant has a gentle, hypnotic tone that's insistently sweet and elegiac, in spite of the horrors that overwhelm the frame. In its juxtaposition of the serene and the violent, the beautiful and the brutal, the film achieves a balance that's exquisitely judged, tiptoeing artfully through a cultural minefield.
April 5, 2016
This movie sucks. It's only 80 minutes long, which is about an hour too long.
½ March 13, 2016
I saw this film in the Azores, Portugal of all places.

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.
½ February 18, 2016
A very confronting & unsettling about film as we follow the lives of a few teens during a typical High School but two students have a very sinister plan at hand.

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.
½ December 31, 2015
What Roger Ebert said.
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