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sixteenmiles's avatar


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.
8 years 11 months ago
moonsicle's avatar


The walking through hallways scenes are the best parts. That eerie drifting feeling.
10 years 8 months ago
catherinefrances's avatar


Yeah this is definitely a 'one watch' film. Haunting and messed up, and utterly tragic.
7 years ago
Timec's avatar


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.
13 years 4 months ago
george4mon's avatar


a film about walking.
11 years 8 months ago
Paper_Okami's avatar


I didn't feel anything during the last few parts. It is hard to care about characters getting killed when they are so two dimensional.
12 years 10 months ago
deadendjob's avatar


Fantastic movie from Gus van Sant. If you didn't think Gerry was the most boring movie on the planet, you'll like this. 8/10
12 years 11 months ago
TimothyWatson's avatar


Call me a dumb hipster, but I really enjoyed this movie.
12 years 1 month ago
Dieguito's avatar


#columbine basically
12 years 8 months ago
samba's avatar


great movie.
14 years 7 months ago
eatabrownie's avatar


I suppose it's allright, if you enjoy movies about walking in corridors.
13 years 1 month ago
katami's avatar


Actually the most boring movie I have ever watched. Also the first movie to ever incite me to leave a comment, so there is that.
7 years 2 months ago
SmokingPoetry's avatar


watch'd this on 4/20
13 years 7 months ago
The_Comatorium's avatar



My review
10 years 4 months ago
nicolaskrizan's avatar


Thoughtful and creepy - some flaws in dialogue but still a strong contender for a place in my book.

10 years 8 months ago

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