Directed by Gus Van Sant
Starring Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, Elias McConnell
Running Time: 84 minutes
Before you read much further, please know that there will
be minor spoilers in this review. I wouldn’t worry too much.
The subject matter of the film is quite obvious if you've
seen the trailer, or heard much about the film otherwise.
I don't expect you to be too surprised by anything I say
in my review.
The only word I can think of to describe Van Sant's perspective
of the Columbine massacre is stunning. Nobody moved during
the credits during my screening. Everyone sat silenty, awestruck,
staring at the credits at the end of the movie. I have never
seen a film this intense, this relentless, this honest,
and I have never seen an entire audience so still after
the movie had ended.
Elephant plops us down into a different world, a familiar
world. Most of it we’ve lived before. Van Sant shows us
this world from an outsider’s perspective. There are some
great, long tracking shots, as the camera follows the characters,
without intrusion, as they go about their typical high school
The greatest strength of Elephant is that it doesn't try
to make excuses, give reasons, or place blame for the actions
that take place. There is no lecture regarding the evil
influences on children today, or about the accessibility
and ease to obtain weapons. There is no commentary, and
some might argue that it has no point, but it really doesn’t
need one. Everyone knows how they feel about tragedy and
Van Sant recognizes that it is not his role to tell us how
we should react.
The film doesn't have a long running time, which can be
a fault with some films, but not here. Anything more would
have been excessive, and it stops at exactly the perfect