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||IMDB Rating: 7.2/10 from 12 votes
||Release: 11 March 2004 (Netherlands) /
||Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
||Director: Gus Van Sant,
||Stars: Alex Frost, Alicia Miles, Bennie Dixon, Brittany Mountain, Carrie Finklea, Elias McConnell, Ellis Williams, Eric Deulen, John Robinson, Jordan Taylor, Kristen Hicks, Matt Malloy, Nathan Tyson, Nicole George, Timothy Bottoms
||Synopsis: A day in the lives of a group of average teenage high school students. The film follows every character and shows their daily routines. However two of the students plan to do something that the student body won't forget. Written by Anonymous
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On April 20, 1999, two boys wearing trench coats carried a daunting arsenal
of weapons harnessed with military web gear into Columbine High School in
Littleton, Colorado, and systematically gunned down thirteen students.
Gruesome though it was, the incident was just one of eight fatal high school
shootings between 1997 and 1999. These traumatizing events began a debate
about what was wrong with the nation's youth, an issue that is the subject
of Gus Van Sant's Elephant.
Winner of the Golden Palm at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, Elephant is a
brilliant and deeply affecting film that makes a courageous attempt to grasp
the malaise of today's youth culture. Van Sant does not attempt to explain
Columbine or uncover its underlying causes, and there is no revealing
epiphany. His film is a highly stylized, dreamlike tone poem that defies
linear conventions and is almost surreal in its approach. Using flashbacks
and recurring images from different points of view, the film captures the
mood and tone of its adolescent world: its perceptions, its self-absorption,
and ultimately its darkest instincts.
The camera is a detached observer, and the strength of the film lies in its
acute power of observation and detail. Van Sant shows us all the surface
rituals: the girl cheerleaders, the boys playing football, the locker-lined
hallways, the academic discussions, yet an ineffable feeling of loneliness
pervades. The picture features impeccable acting by a group of
non-professionals from the Portland, Oregon area. Each character is
introduced separately and we see them going about their business on a
seemingly ordinary school day. The steadicam-tracking camera follows them as
they walk through the sterile halls that seem endless. The school appears
without life -- a place where one feels a desperate sense of loss.
We see John (John Robinson), a blonde-haired surfer type, take over the
driving from his father who has had too much to drink, then get called to
task by an administrator for being late for school. Eli (Elias McConnell) is
a photographer who asks classmates, including John, to pose for pictures.
Football player Jordan (Jordan Taylor) meets his girlfriend Carrie (Carrie
Finklea) for lunch. Three friends Nicole (Nicole George), Brittany (Brittany
Mountain), and Acadia (Alicia Miles) gossip and argue about who is whose
best friend. Michelle (Kristen Hicks) refuses to wear shorts, is admonished
by her teacher, and then goes to work in the library. The paths of these
students crisscross throughout the film and each has their own destiny to
fulfill when the violence erupts.
The main protagonists, Alex (Alex Frost) and Eric (Eric Deulen) are modeled
after Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of Columbine. When we first meet Alex,
he is being shunned by his fellow students, called names and pelted with
spitballs in science class. Alex is more outgoing and creative, Eric more
passive, but their personalities complement each other. Alex and Eric wait
at home until a strange package arrives in the mail while Alex plays
Beethoven's "Fur Elise" on the piano. When they return to school, they are
dressed in combat gear and ready to kill.
Rather than giving us pat answers, Van Sant bases his approach on the
elusiveness of truth, and our insatiable desire to know more. The imagery
and camerawork are almost painfully beautiful, while the disconnected
narrative deliberately withholds closure. On top of all this, the pacing is
superb, slowly building up the almost unbearable tension. When it is finally
released, the explosion hits you with a frightening energy that is as
unforgettable as it is chilling.
Tags for Elephant Full Movie
, Alicia Miles
, Bennie Dixon
, Brittany Mountain
, Carrie Finklea
, Elias McConnell
, Ellis Williams
, Eric Deulen
, John Robinson
, Jordan Taylor
, Kristen Hicks
, Matt Malloy
, Nathan Tyson
, Nicole George
, Timothy Bottoms
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