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Information

Year
2003
Runtime
81 min.
Director
Gus Van Sant
Genres
Crime, Drama, Thriller
Rating *
7.2
Votes *
54,580
Checks
14,775
Favs
1,087
Dislikes
208
Favs/checks
7.4% (1:14)
Favs/dislikes
5:1
* View IMDb information

Top comments

  1. sixteenmiles's avatar

    sixteenmiles

    Some thoughts on Elephant: https://16miles.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/elephant-2003/

    Part of the criticism and acclaim of Elephant is it’s total lack of any kind of morality. It portrays a neutral view of a horrific event. The film takes a camera and puts you, the viewer, inside of something brutal.

    But there is a message in there somewhere, hidden in the labyrinthine high-school corridors. The message is in the total lack of care or presence of any adult figure. They are all vacant. All absent.

    In the opening scene, John’s father is drifting drunk. This is the extent of his character. The principal of the school is patronising and unconcerned with reason. He looks down on John and is completely without care for his frustrations. The parent’s of the two killers are faceless ghosts that float around the screen and then disappear into the ether. Never seen again.

    The strange thing about the film though, is how emotionless everyone seems. There is a scene in which three girls are sitting in the lunch hall, eating, conversing. Then they walk together, they talk, and like any other day they enter the bathroom together to force up their lunch. It seems ordinary. Where a character does display emotion, John retreats to an empty classroom to shed a tear. His friend asks “Did something bad happen?” and he responds “I don’t know.” There is a scene in amongst the chaos of the end where a fearless student (Benny) seems completely unconcerned by what is happening. He drifts through the burning, smoking hallways in a long continuous take. He helps a girl escape and for a moment we almost have a heroic figure. He finds himself sneaking up behind one of the shooters. Yet as quick as this brief glimpse of hope appeared, the shooter turns around and plugs a bullet right into him.

    The film’s end is equal in how abrupt it is. A mere snapshot of an event. A portrait of these character’s life and frustrations. It ends with no conclusion or resolution. That is your responsibility as the viewer to come to.
    2 years ago
  2. Timec's avatar

    Timec

    This movie terrifies me. Even the opening sequences, before anything bad has happened, have my nerves on edge. A great movie, though one I'll probably never watch again. 6 years 6 months ago
  3. catherinefrances's avatar

    catherinefrances

    Yeah this is definitely a 'one watch' film. Haunting and messed up, and utterly tragic. 1 month 1 week ago
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In 10 official lists

  1. This movie ranks #24 in The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
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    The 21st Century's Most …

    24
  2. This movie ranks #76 in Cannes Film Festival - Palme d'Or
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    Cannes Film Festival - P…

    76
  3. This movie ranks #288 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
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    The Guardian's 1000 Film…

    288
  4. This movie ranks #288 in TimeOut's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
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    TimeOut's 1000 Films to …

    288
  5. This movie ranks #380 in Sight and Sound 2012 - Combined List
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    Sight and Sound 2012 - C…

    380
  6. This movie ranks #457 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
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    They Shoot Pictures, Don…

    457
  7. This movie ranks #475 in 500 Essential Cult Movies
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    500 Essential Cult Movies

    475
  8. This movie ranks #497 in The Story of Film: An Odyssey
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    The Story of Film: An Od…

    497
  9. This movie ranks #956 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
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    1001 Movies You Must See…

    956
  10. This movie ranks #1015 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Films
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    Jonathan Rosenbaum's Ess…

    1015
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