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March 20, 2004


There might be some interest generated by the mere fact Elephant will now on In-Demand HBO (Oct '05). But at 82 minutes I can't see how this can be considered a motion picture. It might have been better to have made an after-school special with some kind of "moral message". This movie owes it's cameraman the medel of patience for filming backs of heads. 4 of 10.

I caught "Elephant" on Cinemax the other night after having been curious about it for some time. I anticipated an exploration in ideas as to how and why these events sometimes occur. In the first two-thirds of the movie, I percieved the director's intent to be getting us into the daily lives of the kids at a rather vacant high-school. I figured once the shooting started, there would be explorations into how two kids can commit such atrocities.

Once the killings started, however, it became readily apparent that there was not going to be any commentary, or sense of crime and punishment, or exploration of such heinous acts. It was, quite simply, a gratuitous shooting spree. What appears to have set out to be a kind of fictional documentary on these kinds of events quickly degenerated into the breed of mindless media violence it possibly intended to comment on. Rather than watching an arthouse commentary on the product of American culture and violence in the media, you feel as if you are watching a director's soulless rendition of a first-person shooter much like the one one of the teens plays during the film. It's less of a movie and more of an excuse to show kids shooting people.

If the movie was intended to comment on gratuitous violence in the media, it quickly became the very kind of movie it set out to speak against.

I am sorry but Elephant was utter crap. You can not have a 10 minute, yes i counted, tracking shot it's just not interesting.
Also I don't know what the hell the director was trying to do but i bet it wasn't suppost to be confusing the hell out of the audience. I don't know about anybody else but that "flash back" they had about midway through the video, yeah im gonna call it a video it's not quite a film, is not established at all which just ends up disorienting about 95% of the audience. Oh and the belemic cheer leaders and the random homosexual boy on boy shower kiss made it seem like Van Gust was a close minded teenager himself, to bad you're not an actor. As for the shooting from diffrent people's perspective that seemed very inetersting but you do not need to do the same exact scene over 4 times from diffrent perspectives, yeah you all know the scene i am talking about "my parents are bitches" was only funny the first time. And as for the 20 minutes of shooting itself bad acting makes haplessness seem like half assnessed, i mean seriously if a rifle goes off and someone gets hit you're gonna know. But it's not all that bad i mean if you like random slow motion scenes, a lousy pay off, and lazy cinemaphotographers you'll love this movie!

In closing this movie's bulk, a grand 60 something minutes, could've been skillfully done in 10.

interesting critiques in regards to the killers themselves.. i kinda felt like they were trying to say they were asperger syndrome cases just in regards to the way they interacted (or lack of) with people, his various obsessions namely music etc... and it didn't even seem like they held any kind of wishes to be anything like the nazis it was just sorta something to watch... i would agree that the homosexual scene was perhaps a bit over the top.. i sorta figured it was a way to show that they understood the gravity of what they were about to do but yeah maybe it was unnecessarily misleading... i thought the payoff was pretty nice though.

I realise this will probably not be read by 'Isaac' but just to set a few things straight, you have described 'Aspergers' completely inaccurately. Aspergers and autism in general is very misunderstood. A person with autism will take a little longer to process the world and situations around them because they take it all in - they cannot skim what they are seeing so they must process it all. Which is why you sometimes see autistics doing amazing things, once they've had time to process that is. The stereotypes are not helpful to autistics or their families.

I just happened to watch this movie on IFC today. Like the other reviewers, I kept waiting for something, anything to actually happen. It didn't take me long to realize a massacre was going to occur, but I felt like none of the characters even mattered. I learned nothing of the individual characters except for which stereotypical group they fit into. And yes, we get it-the high school has really long dark halls. This movie had absolutely no soul. For it to win the Golden Palm at Cannes doesn't mean it's good--could it be that the emperor has no clothes?

The silliest part of this movie is the self-destructive behavior of the African American athlete, who, with every opportunity in the world to escape what is clearly a school massacre, lazily walks the hallways looking for some answer that is already screaming in his face. Why he cannot process reality and recognize danger is baffling, and lousy script writing. One cannot defend his actions as potentially heroic because he puts into effect no plan (assuming he had any) to save the day, essentially committing suicide by stupidly walking slowly up behind the shooter, to a predictable conclusion. Dumb, but no more dumb that Van Sant's portrayal of a son (student) father (teacher) combo who anticipating the shooting, make half-hearted attempts to warn people, then throw in the towel, and stare at the school in a moment of family bonding.

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