User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 123 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 87 out of 123
  2. Negative: 31 out of 123
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  1. David
    Jan 10, 2009
    10
    Simply put, this is a film where you either like its style or you do not. I very much fall into the former category. It is a hypnotizing and harrowing experiene. The films greatest strength besides just the superb cinematography is its portrayl or real people- I mean REAL people. We all knew people like these in high school, they are not cliches at all- quite the opposite. Even if you Simply put, this is a film where you either like its style or you do not. I very much fall into the former category. It is a hypnotizing and harrowing experiene. The films greatest strength besides just the superb cinematography is its portrayl or real people- I mean REAL people. We all knew people like these in high school, they are not cliches at all- quite the opposite. Even if you hated this movie I know you could never forget it, and to those that "got" it, this is truly one of the greatest films of the new millenium thus far. Expand
  2. ms
    Oct 3, 2007
    10
    I find it amusing that people rate this film based on its purposeful lack of character development and narrative. It operates on purely different and realistic level. In reality, you can't tell what a person is thinking, but you can sure as hell understand his or her actions and words. This is the rawest action in a movie that I have ever seen thanks to the daring lack of insight I find it amusing that people rate this film based on its purposeful lack of character development and narrative. It operates on purely different and realistic level. In reality, you can't tell what a person is thinking, but you can sure as hell understand his or her actions and words. This is the rawest action in a movie that I have ever seen thanks to the daring lack of insight into the characters' choices. The characters are simply different pairs of eyes for us to see through as we witness the world as things occur. The audience is left to make his or her own judgments about what has taken place. The cinematography is amazing, each shot taken to enhance the viewers feeling of the atmosphere. The actors do an amazing job of making the day move naturally and as realistically as possible. In this ultra-realistic world, however, a truly unique artistic vision emerges. It is rare to find a story that almost totally abandons the normal structure of a story (except for Gummo but that was poorly conceived). A ten. Expand
  3. Jul 5, 2013
    8
    In the wake of the Columbine school shootings, there was much discussion and sensationalism around what could have motivated the two killers to commit such horrific acts before taking their own lives. Elephant explores this question by giving us a window into the harrowing final moments of a pair of fictional high school murderers, as well as their victims.

    The film follows several
    In the wake of the Columbine school shootings, there was much discussion and sensationalism around what could have motivated the two killers to commit such horrific acts before taking their own lives. Elephant explores this question by giving us a window into the harrowing final moments of a pair of fictional high school murderers, as well as their victims.

    The film follows several different students in the hour that leads up to the beginning of the violence, showing us the normality of their day to day lives. These segments are surprisingly engrossing, considering it's just people going about their business and interacting with the world that they inhabit. The perpetrators are included in this and are revealed to be pretty average teenagers. The lack of hyperbole in the portrayal is chilling and it's a quality that typifies the tone of the picture as a whole. The documentary feel of the style feeds into this and further accentuates the unspectacular nature of the day, though it's not just the pragmatic approach to filming that is important in this regard.

    The cast are made up of untrained high school students, most of whom carry their real names on-screen as well as off. Personally, I found this a little eerie, but that may perhaps have been the point. There were apparently no prepared lines to speak of, Van Sant preferring to allow the amateurs to improvise. This not only helps give the dialogue a genuine flavour, but also avoids any complications that could have arisen through unskilled acting combined with trying to remember what to say. Ultimately, the freedom that is given makes for performances that feel remarkably natural, providing an atmosphere of unsettling realism.

    There's also much to appreciate as far as the cinematography is concerned. The incredibly long takes that follow the students as they go through the day are impressive, taking in the bustling environment of the school and its inhabitants. Considering the leisurely pace of the editing, it's perhaps somewhat surprising that the film is almost unbearably tense at times. The knowledge of what is to come coupled with the blissful unawareness of the characters is largely responsible for this. It's an aspect that becomes even more effective once panic begins to spread, confusion, chaos and disbelief replacing the mundane.

    As an experience, it can be hard to watch, though in the best possible way. The lack of movie conventions, particularly in terms of gunplay, makes the action that much more moving. There's nothing in the way of stylistic affectation applied and the detached coldness that this provides mirrors the attitude of the killers, bringing the events home with a shockingly powerful impact.
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  4. May 10, 2011
    10
    What makes this movie so wonderful is the fact that Van Sant doesn't offer simple answers, because no one knew what was really going through those kids minds. He portrays an ordinary high school taken over and does so with an incredibly haunting style.
  5. MikeT.
    Oct 18, 2005
    1
    This movie is awful. It's the cinematic equivalent of an empty canvas - arrogant and insulting. My immediate response when the movie thankfully ended, was "that's 80 minutes of my life I'll never get back". This is a class project, not a film. As a class project, it might rate a good grade. I highly reccomend this movie for cinematography instructors - it will give you This movie is awful. It's the cinematic equivalent of an empty canvas - arrogant and insulting. My immediate response when the movie thankfully ended, was "that's 80 minutes of my life I'll never get back". This is a class project, not a film. As a class project, it might rate a good grade. I highly reccomend this movie for cinematography instructors - it will give you something to talk about. I gave it 1 point for the cinematography (I was going to give it 2, but the scene with a flag football game where the camera didn't move for 5 minutes was a 1 point deduction). For anybody looking for something of interest, or to be (gasp!) entertained, don't bother. This must be what watching a snuff film is like. I knew where the film would evolve to, and sat through an agonizing hour of nothing to get there. Only to have the 20 minutes of actual script concentrate entirely on the violence, and end suddenly with no warning, no point, and no conclusion. A prize winning film? Right. This is a film for those people who likes anything that they are sure nobody else will like, because that allows them to proclaim themselves to be an "expert". A for Arrogant. B for Boring. C for Catatonic. D for Dreadful. And F for the movie's grade. Expand
  6. AndyJ.
    Nov 2, 2005
    1
    Maybe next time, Van Zant can create a 90 minute film about a 12 year old being molested by a grown man...all for the sake of "ART" ... so that we don't turn a "blind eye" to the topic. Maybe he could call that one "Moose" or perhaps, "Zebra". Elephant was a sad film for all the wrong reasons. It was well-made, well-filmed and well-acted. Unfortunately, the script and topic was utter Maybe next time, Van Zant can create a 90 minute film about a 12 year old being molested by a grown man...all for the sake of "ART" ... so that we don't turn a "blind eye" to the topic. Maybe he could call that one "Moose" or perhaps, "Zebra". Elephant was a sad film for all the wrong reasons. It was well-made, well-filmed and well-acted. Unfortunately, the script and topic was utter crap. I want my money back. Expand
  7. Jonathan
    Jan 7, 2004
    2
    Saw this at the New York Film Festival and left pissed. How dare Van Sant take a subject as heartbreaking as this and turn it into pornographic, underdeveloped nonsense. I was greatly, deeply offended by it. Van Sant doesn't allow the audience to get to know any of the characters, so when their deaths ensue, the audience doesn't feel sadness, but instead hatred - using the Saw this at the New York Film Festival and left pissed. How dare Van Sant take a subject as heartbreaking as this and turn it into pornographic, underdeveloped nonsense. I was greatly, deeply offended by it. Van Sant doesn't allow the audience to get to know any of the characters, so when their deaths ensue, the audience doesn't feel sadness, but instead hatred - using the Columbine incident as an excuse for cardboard characters and a hollow script (it is a mere 81 minutes, folks) is an insult to anyone who personally had a connection to any one of our country's latest school shootings. Expand
  8. MikeB.
    Feb 7, 2006
    2
    Pretentious baloney. Cliched characters (the jock with his pretty girlfriend, the dorky girl, the three chatty bulemics) walk the halls and occasionally mumble lines for an hour or so until the two camoflauge-clad, violent video-games playing NeoNazis head into the school for the killfest. If only I was intelligent enough to love this shallow dribble for what it is.
  9. [Anonymous]
    May 4, 2007
    1
    This movie was boring, story is pretty slow. Nothing really happens in the movie. It got so boring that I skipped to the end. The ending ended too early.
  10. ArthurM
    Aug 29, 2009
    10
    This is a great movie, but most of all a great piece of art. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous in this movie. Great for people who love Cinema.
  11. TonyB.
    Sep 21, 2005
    0
    That such a serious subject has been treated so poorly constitutes a cinematic crime of catastrophic proportions. Is it possible that anyone connected with this claptrap has ever spent a moment in a high school? It screams artsy pretentiousness all through its deadening 81 minutes.
  12. Alpas
    Aug 10, 2006
    2
    What a piece of crap "most of the film was improvised" says imdb "nazi homosexuals are bad" answers bright forum member that`s all about that.
  13. SophiaS
    Sep 20, 2008
    2
    This is a movie you either love or hate, basically. Personally, I hated it. It was predictable and boring, and barely moving.
  14. Mar 27, 2011
    0
    This movie is so bad, it is not even worth writing a review about. It is beyond ridiculous. It looks like a home video, with bad dialogue and bad acting, freakish characters, no plot, no pace, no nothing. How can anyone give this a rave review ? I wonder why it is that you have to endure 99 **** movies, just to find one good one. It is like searching for the needle in the haystack. I thinkThis movie is so bad, it is not even worth writing a review about. It is beyond ridiculous. It looks like a home video, with bad dialogue and bad acting, freakish characters, no plot, no pace, no nothing. How can anyone give this a rave review ? I wonder why it is that you have to endure 99 **** movies, just to find one good one. It is like searching for the needle in the haystack. I think the problem is that with today's technology, everybody can make films, so there is a lot more crap out there than before, when studios had to think of something good, because it cost a lot of money to make films, and they had to make sure they would make it back. This film is the bottom of the barrel. Expand
  15. Mar 31, 2013
    2
    A glorified re-enactment which offers little more than a Wikipedia entry on the matter.
  16. Jul 23, 2013
    4
    I pretty much liked the style of the film, I thought it was interesting. But at the end of the movie, there were too many walking sequences, and too little character development. I felt like they could have done more with it. At least, that's my opinion.
  17. Nicky
    May 2, 2004
    10
    Never seen such a fantastic movie like this. the story perhaps not to good enough, but the story goes uncommonly, that's why i really enjoy to watch this!!! fabolous, never seen like this before.
  18. BenD.
    Jun 21, 2006
    6
    this movie was too much like the actual columbine shooting. it was extreamly painful to watch during the shooting scene. there was really no plot to the movie at all and no explanations to the events in the movie whatsoever. the worst part is that there was really nothing that i took away from the movie apart from the numb feeling i had inside when it all ended. it was very disturbing and this movie was too much like the actual columbine shooting. it was extreamly painful to watch during the shooting scene. there was really no plot to the movie at all and no explanations to the events in the movie whatsoever. the worst part is that there was really nothing that i took away from the movie apart from the numb feeling i had inside when it all ended. it was very disturbing and i feel that i could have done without this movie being made. however, the cinimatograpy was absolutely beautiful. watching the movie feels as if you're looking at a piece of fine art. this alone, completely saves this film. Expand
  19. BrianT
    Jul 15, 2007
    9
    This was a great film, very original, the long sequences were hallucinatory, while Van Sant panders to the lovers of of storylines with flashbacks and story jumps. People who hate this film really have no clue, jumping to conclusions like that glorifies violence. It does anything B-U-T, it registers violence and nothing else. It doesn't judge or glorify. Haters are so scared to lose This was a great film, very original, the long sequences were hallucinatory, while Van Sant panders to the lovers of of storylines with flashbacks and story jumps. People who hate this film really have no clue, jumping to conclusions like that glorifies violence. It does anything B-U-T, it registers violence and nothing else. It doesn't judge or glorify. Haters are so scared to lose their gun-toting rights, they are almost foaming at the mouth. They are in such a panic, they simply can't stand any criticism on whatever, Opponents are immediately branded as Un-American, as if it is American to slaughter people senselessly ... Oh wait ,,, IT IS! The lack of wall to wall music was so refreshing. Expand
  20. TracyM.
    Nov 16, 2003
    6
    I know people hate this movie and I know why they hate it. "Oh it's pretentious, it's pointless, the characters are 'developed' for no reason, it means to dramaticize by under-dramaticizing..." So far this seems like a love-it-or-hate-it film. I want to say that I loved it, but I have to admit that the trailer made more of an impact on me than the actual film. Then I I know people hate this movie and I know why they hate it. "Oh it's pretentious, it's pointless, the characters are 'developed' for no reason, it means to dramaticize by under-dramaticizing..." So far this seems like a love-it-or-hate-it film. I want to say that I loved it, but I have to admit that the trailer made more of an impact on me than the actual film. Then I realize the point really isn't necessarily about glorified emotional impact for the viewers; in fact this film takes great pride in NOT giving us the climactic wrap-up we expect from a movie about this subject. That is why I personally felt slighted by the end, but I still had an immense appreciation for the film. Yes, it's mundane. That is the point. Whether a person can handle that or not is simply a matter of personal tastes and opinion. That's why it is a hate-it or love-it film. Expand
  21. JoelleneZ.
    Nov 20, 2003
    10
    I especially liked the bit at the end where they all died.
  22. PIRANHAG.
    Dec 3, 2003
    8
    Fabulous poetic movie. bad thing: Columbine again??!! Perhaps Gus VAn whats to teach kids to kill more people.
  23. MaxM.
    Oct 24, 2003
    7
    A movie to hate, love, question, pity, revere and revile. But most of all, a movie to see. Those who don't get it, never will. Those who do will remember it forever.
  24. KatieP.
    May 15, 2004
    10
    Poignant and hypnotic. It's brilliantly made. Disturbing at times, but truthful and honest.
  25. [Anonymous]
    Jul 20, 2004
    2
    Frustrating to watch...sloooooooow.
  26. R.Robertson
    Jul 7, 2004
    10
    Out of all the villains of the year, or any other year, Alex is the very personification of evil. I tell you, the demise of the sweet 'geek' girl was truly devasting...eeny, meeny, miny, mo...
  27. M.Taylor
    Aug 9, 2004
    0
    Arthouse wanky bollocks, so up itself it forgets to be even remotely interesting, less fun than eating glass, and if it is a gesture to the victims it is empty handed as the people in the film seem colourless and lifeless, I bet they were anything but, rolling in their graves comes to mind!
  28. MarisaJ.
    Aug 26, 2006
    9
    Watching the movie gave off a dreamy, surreal feeling and yet it was a very real movie. The cinematology was amazing, and you're still thinking about the unanswered questions long after the credits finished rolling.
  29. JoeG.
    Aug 31, 2006
    10
    Man, I can respect a negative opinion when the person makes the case, but some of these negative reviews are pretty shallow. "Cliched characters?" Yeah, who ever heard of a jock with a hot girlfriend? Or dorky looking girls who aren't popular? Oh wait, that's REALITY. To be fair, a lot of TV shows and movies handle these kind of characters in clichéd ways, but this movie Man, I can respect a negative opinion when the person makes the case, but some of these negative reviews are pretty shallow. "Cliched characters?" Yeah, who ever heard of a jock with a hot girlfriend? Or dorky looking girls who aren't popular? Oh wait, that's REALITY. To be fair, a lot of TV shows and movies handle these kind of characters in clichéd ways, but this movie actually does everything with a realistic feel, so much that everything on the WB looks really phony when you turn it on right after the movie's over. I really dug this movie, but it's definitely not for everybody. Some people will never get over the subject matter. Then there's the movie's approach - this movie's all about mood. If you're expecting a conventional narrative, forget about it, this isn't that kind of movie. Does that make it less accessible? Yes. It doesn't make it a bad movie or a good movie either, it just means it's doing something different and original, and if you have an open mind, you might appreciate it too. Also, some viewers accuse it of being shallow, and judging from their reviews, I think they were expecting an "answer" or a better explanation for the violence. You're not going to get a clear answer. There's a lame scene involving a Nazi documentary, but this movie isn't out to explain everything like some ridiculous report on NBC Dateline. Instead it reminds you what it's like to be back in high school - the mundane details and the sort of isolated existance people can have without realizing it, even when they're constantly hanging out with other people and surrounded by dozens of students. Columbine happened like 6 years ago, and every school made a huge deal of it for like a year, grappling at all the wrong answers and making themselves look out-of-touch in the process. Now they don't talk about it anymore, like it was some bad dream that people eventually forget. Few people still talk about this movie too, but I'm glad it's still out there 'cause anyone who watches it may not stay so numb and oblivious to everything around them. Expand
  30. ArianaM.
    Jan 18, 2007
    10
    I think a lot of people want to point to this movie and say it's another case of "The Emperor has no clothes". But wow, I got this movie. Apart from how amazingly well it was done, I was actually looking for myself in those hallways. I graduated nearly ten years ago, but apart from it being much larger and much more beautiful, that WAS my highschool. I didn't see a single I think a lot of people want to point to this movie and say it's another case of "The Emperor has no clothes". But wow, I got this movie. Apart from how amazingly well it was done, I was actually looking for myself in those hallways. I graduated nearly ten years ago, but apart from it being much larger and much more beautiful, that WAS my highschool. I didn't see a single stereotype. I saw real people. Their personalities were barely glimpsed and yet they were never without personality. You knew it was there. But this movie was not a deep exploration of all the different people who inhabit a highschool, it was more like walking down the halls (which actually was the majority of the movie). In this case, the fact that this movie was difficult to watch is why everyone should see it. Perhaps it will incite some understanding and empathy-- not for killers, but for the people who have been suffering in isolation for one reason or another-- whether it's the blonde boy who seems so cool and struggles with an alcoholic father, to the 'nerdy' girl who loves looking at the sky and suffers ridicule every time she has to change out of her clothes after gym. I don't want to minimize the crime or the guilt of the killers, but I want to point out another villain in this movie and in our lives-- lack of empathy. Expand
  31. HeatherW.
    Jul 13, 2007
    0
    I have officially found the worst movie of all time. The characters were all stereotypes, not even close to real people. The only message that we are told is that homosexuals, who play video games and watch documentaries on the Third Reich run out and kill people. It is not even shot that well. Throughly and utterly disappointing
  32. ChadS.
    Dec 4, 2003
    9
    "Don't go in there," warns a student to stragglers outside the school compound because he knows what's in the killers' duffel bags. Why he doesn't ask somebody to whip out their cell phone and alert the authorities is puzzling. There's got to be an ideology behind this. Maybe Van Sant is saying that the cell phone is one of the reasons why a situation like "Don't go in there," warns a student to stragglers outside the school compound because he knows what's in the killers' duffel bags. Why he doesn't ask somebody to whip out their cell phone and alert the authorities is puzzling. There's got to be an ideology behind this. Maybe Van Sant is saying that the cell phone is one of the reasons why a situation like Columbine happened. It tends to make people self-absorbed and not notice the world around them as they walk and talk. The genius of this film is the way Van Sant makes one of the killers human(he likes to draw and play classical music), before undermining this sensitive side when he blows away an even bigger outcast than himself. He's a monster, plain and simple. Like "Gerry", there are lengthy tracking shots, but here they carry emotional weight because as these kids weave around the school maze, they're actually making a bee-line towards inevitability. "Elephant" is a powerful film, but it'll probably ruin your day. Expand
  33. Rafael
    Oct 24, 2003
    8
    Those who are looking for answers, won't find them here. This is not a flawless movie, only because it has won both the palm d'our and directing award in cannes, but it is a brilliant study at america's youth, the way they live, the way they act, and most important of all the way they express themselves: through friends, through photos, through killings... one of this year best.
  34. AndrewR.
    Nov 6, 2004
    4
    This movie is definitely Van Sant...beautifully shot. But what happened to the characters? So unclear what happened here, as there was no clear sense of what was up with the two "villains"...why did they shoot up the school? Because violence is 'cool'? Stupid scene of the two watching a Nazi propaganda video. Not to mention the 'shower scene', which I found almost as This movie is definitely Van Sant...beautifully shot. But what happened to the characters? So unclear what happened here, as there was no clear sense of what was up with the two "villains"...why did they shoot up the school? Because violence is 'cool'? Stupid scene of the two watching a Nazi propaganda video. Not to mention the 'shower scene', which I found almost as offensive as the violence itself - what kindof statement was made there? Disappointing. Expand
  35. KyleM
    Oct 25, 2004
    9
    Don't listen to people who don't like a movie because it is not interesting and so slow. I am under to artistic obligation to love this film. I think it is one of the finer movies released in the past couple years. As a not so distant attendee of highschool, my vote says that the depiction of secondary school life was incredibly accurate. The dialogue was fabulous, because it Don't listen to people who don't like a movie because it is not interesting and so slow. I am under to artistic obligation to love this film. I think it is one of the finer movies released in the past couple years. As a not so distant attendee of highschool, my vote says that the depiction of secondary school life was incredibly accurate. The dialogue was fabulous, because it wasn't fabulous. And despite the claims of many, Elephant had me nervous and intense the whole film. It was marvelous Expand
  36. MetroM.
    Oct 26, 2004
    0
    Just stupid hand held shot in a day film that drags with no plot or actors but just a camera following kids aroudn who do nothing then some guys like Eminem types who shoot up some kids - duh - no one calls ploice or rings fire alarm?? IT is stupid totally stupid.
  37. Christiaan
    Mar 13, 2004
    10
    This movie is SOOO great I can't believe this really happened.
  38. Paul
    May 10, 2004
    2
    This is the longest 80 minutes you will ever spend. The boys that do the evil aren't developed that well. I wanted to see more of why they were so mad at the world. Too much of the movie is walking around without adding anything to the movie. I can live without knowing the reason for everything, but wasting large amounts of time on things that don't move the plot along is This is the longest 80 minutes you will ever spend. The boys that do the evil aren't developed that well. I wanted to see more of why they were so mad at the world. Too much of the movie is walking around without adding anything to the movie. I can live without knowing the reason for everything, but wasting large amounts of time on things that don't move the plot along is stupid. I would like to see more of the shooting and the aftermath than the walking around campus. Expand
  39. ChrisM.
    May 12, 2004
    10
    A pure, tragic and interesting film. A martyr for "indi" film making.
  40. Hubert
    May 14, 2004
    10
    Seeing all, and I mean all of the characters equally alienated and distanced from rest of the world, hearing not a single true conversation for entire 80 minutes of the film puts the viewer into a pseudo-hypnotic state in which repetitive strolls along the corridors (when everything but the moving silhouette is blurred and unrealed) work as a countdown. We do not get much information Seeing all, and I mean all of the characters equally alienated and distanced from rest of the world, hearing not a single true conversation for entire 80 minutes of the film puts the viewer into a pseudo-hypnotic state in which repetitive strolls along the corridors (when everything but the moving silhouette is blurred and unrealed) work as a countdown. We do not get much information concerning both the victims and the killers - in that sense the characters remain undevelopped. But it doesn't mean they're remote - we meet them in small things they do (from playing Beethoven to playing with dog) through which we gain insight and begin to sense rather than understand what is happening inside their heads, their hearts. That's where the beauty dwells - in masterful delicacy and subtlety of those simple observations - the characters are separated from each other, they float like isles but they become close to us as we watch them. This film is not about reason and answer since there may not be one to satisfy everybody. Instead Van Sant offers us a rare experience of 80 minutes-long requiem for those who are no more during which we share something with all of them. It's not easy to handle, strong yet delicate and above all very beautiful a picture. Expand
  41. MichaelL.
    May 4, 2004
    5
    Beautiful camerawork, lyrical direction. The sense of dread at times is overwhelming -- almost unbearable. I have no doubt that this film indeed depicts a day like any other at a typical high school. A day meandering toward doom. But, no matter how well-constructed "Elephant" is, it begs the final question "Why make it at all?" It smacks of exploitation. It seems to open wounds for no Beautiful camerawork, lyrical direction. The sense of dread at times is overwhelming -- almost unbearable. I have no doubt that this film indeed depicts a day like any other at a typical high school. A day meandering toward doom. But, no matter how well-constructed "Elephant" is, it begs the final question "Why make it at all?" It smacks of exploitation. It seems to open wounds for no reason other than the pornographic thrill of being "inside" during a grand-scale tragedy. Expand
  42. GaborA.
    Jul 8, 2004
    1
    If you take the Breakfast Club but cut out allmost all the dialouge, and have them walk out of detention into a stream of bullets you basically get Elephant. This movie was terrible. Had this movie come out before Columbine its purpose would have been to show us that this type of thing can happen to anyone. As it came out after it seems its purpose is to replace the scary daydreams that If you take the Breakfast Club but cut out allmost all the dialouge, and have them walk out of detention into a stream of bullets you basically get Elephant. This movie was terrible. Had this movie come out before Columbine its purpose would have been to show us that this type of thing can happen to anyone. As it came out after it seems its purpose is to replace the scary daydreams that all students have sometimes at school knowing now that this can happen to anyone. However, my dreams are not so mundane, irrelevent, irrational, pretemtuous, and flat out bad as Sant's Elephant. Expand
  43. Jared
    Oct 3, 2005
    9
    Though this movie may appear emotionally distanced, it is not the film makers intent to inflect on the emotions involved but rather to show us the way that life is and was on that day. It is filled with beautiful moments such as every one of us finds in our everyday life and horrific moments such as we sometimes see without even realizing it. Though the acting may be amateur and very Though this movie may appear emotionally distanced, it is not the film makers intent to inflect on the emotions involved but rather to show us the way that life is and was on that day. It is filled with beautiful moments such as every one of us finds in our everyday life and horrific moments such as we sometimes see without even realizing it. Though the acting may be amateur and very noticable at times that these are inexperienced actors, it is about what happens not the way that people react. Watching this movie is like being in a dream, filled with moments of extreme beauty and moments of unspeakable horror. Expand
  44. NicolasB.
    Jan 5, 2005
    7
    Interesting movie to watch. Leaves you sort of frustrated in how it cuts out but nevertheless holds your interest to the end. It is filmed well but the dialogue and events will have you wondering what Van Sant was thinking. Go Watch it. You wont regret it.
  45. NickT.
    Feb 5, 2005
    7
    **6.5** This movie did two things very well. It was beautifully shot and it really kept the audience interested. I was on the edge of my seat the whole movie, curious as to what was around the next corner. But overall, the movie was very disappointing. I found it odd how Van Sant was attempting a move towards more abrupt realism, but there are many things in this movie that simply that **6.5** This movie did two things very well. It was beautifully shot and it really kept the audience interested. I was on the edge of my seat the whole movie, curious as to what was around the next corner. But overall, the movie was very disappointing. I found it odd how Van Sant was attempting a move towards more abrupt realism, but there are many things in this movie that simply that aren't logical or realistic. The school was too quiet; being in high school myself, I can say that all teenagers do is talk, and while the dialogue was captured very well, it wasn't very prominent. The concept was admitably brilliant: just a random day in the life of random people. Though, this isn't like many indie films where it concludes with nothing to say. This film is worth a watch, as I enjoyed it, but I was dissapointed that with how Van Sant contradicted the method in which he was presenting the main theme. Expand
  46. ScottM.
    May 14, 2005
    2
    I thought it would have guts to tell a good and disturbing, but they tried just to go for disturbing.
  47. JoanS.
    Feb 28, 2006
    10
    as a teen, i found this movie to be an accurate depiction of teen life through the eyes of people I see everyday... the shooters were scary and their actions vivid... but their faces and their problems are problems and faces that i see everyday... it's chillingly real.
  48. JohnY.
    Nov 28, 2003
    9
    "Elephant" knows what high schoolers are really like, and it just watches. When so many movies try to explain away certain tragic events, "Elephant" is satisfied just observing and wondering. There are no answers as to why Columbine happened, and the film gives none. Instead, it shows how confusing, alienating, and complex the teenage years can be, and how often people just look away from "Elephant" knows what high schoolers are really like, and it just watches. When so many movies try to explain away certain tragic events, "Elephant" is satisfied just observing and wondering. There are no answers as to why Columbine happened, and the film gives none. Instead, it shows how confusing, alienating, and complex the teenage years can be, and how often people just look away from these lonely, disturbed kids. The film is like a trance, the actors are authentic, and the effect is powerful. Expand
  49. BernardoM.
    Nov 29, 2003
    5
    Great aesthetics, but no ethics. There is no fun about playing Doom in the movies. And I wouldn't believe that everyone in high school is so dumb as shown in "Elephant". Nevertheless, the camera operation is really impressing.
  50. John
    Nov 3, 2003
    3
    There is really nothing TO get from this irreverent nonsense. Sure, Van Sant doesn't analyze the crimes at all, but this film is so devoid of anything, that it might as well not even exist.
  51. StinkyL.
    Nov 30, 2003
    9
    The violence in this movie makes sense. but nothing in this movie makes sense. for cripes sake, high school didn't make sense. there's something really amazing in the meditative way this film thwarts easy expectation and empathy -- really awesome film. reminded me that my favorite times at the movies do not come from being SIMPLY entertained, horrified, inspired, intrigued,The violence in this movie makes sense. but nothing in this movie makes sense. for cripes sake, high school didn't make sense. there's something really amazing in the meditative way this film thwarts easy expectation and empathy -- really awesome film. reminded me that my favorite times at the movies do not come from being SIMPLY entertained, horrified, inspired, intrigued, whatever. the cinematography is entrancing, and the choice to go with amateur and even bad actors underscores that this movie didn't ever plan to give us what we have learned to expect from the movies... Expand
  52. MaxwellB.
    Dec 20, 2003
    9
    Yeah, alot of critics may call it audacious and pretentious. They were in high school 30 years ago. To have been in highschool when Columbine (Like I was, my freshman year) happened is the only way to be able to COMPLETELY understand this. This movie offers no explanation - it is mimicking life, and showing that tragedy is often never meant to be explained.
  53. Elliott
    Oct 22, 2003
    4
    [***Potential SPOILERS***] Elephant is wonderful to look at and Van Sant's use of the camera is nothing short of incredible. Sadly enough, there is nothing else worth praising in the movie. The film ends in the middle of the shootout, the assailants purchase their guns off the internet hassle-free (destroys all credibility the film had), one of the killers is never developed at all,[***Potential SPOILERS***] Elephant is wonderful to look at and Van Sant's use of the camera is nothing short of incredible. Sadly enough, there is nothing else worth praising in the movie. The film ends in the middle of the shootout, the assailants purchase their guns off the internet hassle-free (destroys all credibility the film had), one of the killers is never developed at all, and then it's thrown in that they are gay?!? Further problems arise from the unbelievably unconvincing acting (it seems as though the students were reading off of a teleprompter as they were pleading for their lives) and Van Sant's obsession with Fur Elise wears out its welcome after the..... third time its played. True, the directing here is revelatory and quite wonderful and Van Sant legitimately won the directing award at Cannes, though I am very sorry to report, the rest of the film is horribly ill-conceived. For a subject so controversial and powerful, to make a film so ambiguous was a terrible mistake. Expand
  54. Tom
    Oct 23, 2003
    3
    I was also a quite angered by Elephant. Van Sant's sheer laziness - or as critics are calling it, his refusal to provide any answers - with the plot is maddening and frustrating. So much is left unanswered that we have to question EVERYTHING we're seeing, not just the shooting. At 81 short minutes, Elephant is definitely lacking something. And that something is resonance. I was I was also a quite angered by Elephant. Van Sant's sheer laziness - or as critics are calling it, his refusal to provide any answers - with the plot is maddening and frustrating. So much is left unanswered that we have to question EVERYTHING we're seeing, not just the shooting. At 81 short minutes, Elephant is definitely lacking something. And that something is resonance. I was completely unmoved by any of it. Expand
  55. SamL.
    Oct 26, 2003
    1
    I cannot see why this movie is getting raving reviews, for it was quite pathetic, actually. The film looks as if it were thrown together without enough thought put into the production. There were too many scenes that had no connections whatsoever, and weren't needed. The plot was so dull, and it doesn't get a bit interesting until the shooting begins. Then, it beccomes overly I cannot see why this movie is getting raving reviews, for it was quite pathetic, actually. The film looks as if it were thrown together without enough thought put into the production. There were too many scenes that had no connections whatsoever, and weren't needed. The plot was so dull, and it doesn't get a bit interesting until the shooting begins. Then, it beccomes overly grousome, and pointless. This film was obviously made for shock value, but the only shocking thing to me is that people actually liked the piece of crap. Expand
  56. ChrisA.
    Oct 27, 2003
    8
    I am a 15 year old high school student and while I feel that indeed this film may have been dull at times and did not give any answers for the watcher, the depiction of a normal high school day and the horrific event that takes place during it is haunting and realistic. The scenes of the social events and talk is so real, I felt like I was at school during the movie, hanging out with I am a 15 year old high school student and while I feel that indeed this film may have been dull at times and did not give any answers for the watcher, the depiction of a normal high school day and the horrific event that takes place during it is haunting and realistic. The scenes of the social events and talk is so real, I felt like I was at school during the movie, hanging out with friends or listening to groups of different people talk. The movement of the camera throughout the film and the shots were extremely masterful and dazzling, with Van Sant creating a masterpiece to watch. The shootings, once they begin, are truly depressing, giving the viewer a feeling of almost hysteria as they know what is about to happen, and yet they can do nothing but watch it unfold. The youths portrayed are very well played by the amateur actors, most impressively Alex Frost, who as one of the shooters is cold and complicated, obviously mentally troubled. I feel that there is no way that one can kind of like this film, either you really like it or hate it, and I personally loved it. Expand
  57. SkyMoose
    May 19, 2004
    0
    Geez, I just watched this "movie". What the hell?!? It's 45 minutes of following people while they walk around the halls with pointless dialog and then 15 minutes of the 2 kids killing everybody. Why did they do it? What motivated them to want to kill everyone in the school? Why were they so evil? Is it because they were confused by their own sexuality? or because they happened to Geez, I just watched this "movie". What the hell?!? It's 45 minutes of following people while they walk around the halls with pointless dialog and then 15 minutes of the 2 kids killing everybody. Why did they do it? What motivated them to want to kill everyone in the school? Why were they so evil? Is it because they were confused by their own sexuality? or because they happened to see a show about Hilter? or because weapons were so easy to come by? or because they played violent video games? These were the only possibilities explored by the director.... this is a cliche at best! This movie answered nothing!!! Skip this one... it's pointless! Expand
  58. ThomY.
    May 23, 2004
    0
    Elephant isn't about an elephant, though if it was a movie about Babar it would be a thousand times better than this crap. Completely pointless and poorly acted. I think critics come together and say "How stupid do I think movie viewers are? Lets tell them elephant is chilling." It is like Lost in Translation but with less story, no theme, no emotion, no acting. Absolutely terrible.
  59. BridgetteM.
    May 31, 2004
    10
    I loved it i thought it was brilliant i understood it fully - even before they went back over the day. i however didn't get acadia i mean what was her purpose? i loved all the acting, and i thought Alex Frost [Alex] did an excellent job. Also did the guys who played eric and john. i would love to see what happened next. But still confused why eric got killed.
  60. Tim
    Jun 13, 2004
    0
    All of these reviewers are talking about how brilliant and risk-taking this is. No. Intentionally making a boring movie is not risk-taking. Not celebrating or villifying anyone, while a good move, is not worth more than 5 points. Simply terrible.
  61. BenjaminA.
    Mar 28, 2005
    2
    This movie is aweful. I can't think of a more lazy attempt at a story. 90% is either walking or improvised banter. LAZY. The cast is made up of inexperienced amatures. LAZY They demonized the two kids by making them gay nazis? LAZY. Sure there are nice shots and interesting technical achievements, but it doesn't make up for this pathetic movie.
  62. ElephantHater
    Apr 12, 2005
    0
    This film makes me sick.
  63. nataliee.
    Aug 15, 2005
    10
    This is the best portrayal of high school and teenagers I have ever seen; it shows the deep truths of the human condition. It portrays the shooters thoughtfully; the camera does not put them in a position to be judged. We are observers of the truthful prologue of inevitable tragedy.
  64. JeremyF.
    May 15, 2007
    0
    This movie is the worst movie I've ever seen. I know all your 10-ers will say I'm crazy and badmouth me inside your head and say things like "How could he say this? He must have no taste." Well, honestly, I can't find one good thing in this movie. It drags on and the 90-minute duration feels like 120. It's ridiculous. I watched this movie cause everyone said it was so This movie is the worst movie I've ever seen. I know all your 10-ers will say I'm crazy and badmouth me inside your head and say things like "How could he say this? He must have no taste." Well, honestly, I can't find one good thing in this movie. It drags on and the 90-minute duration feels like 120. It's ridiculous. I watched this movie cause everyone said it was so good and artistic. It's not. It is simply a director getting lost inside his own desire to be so deeply artistic and compelling. Trying too hard is unflattering, and usually does more bad than good. Although, it almost seems like he didn't try hard enough, as this is a bland movie in it's entirety. It has some long drawn out shots of someone just walking, and stayed locked on the screen (camera not moving, of course, for our entertainment) well after the person leaves. I found myself confused at times, but when I eventually connected the dots and saw this was all one day, I was even more horrified. I HATE the scene where the two killers on in the shower together and kiss. This is the most unimportant and unrelated scene I've seen in a movie in a very very very long time. A lot of people think this scene is a perk, showing a brief moment of their relationship but never delving into it. BULL! This is an unneeded potential-love scene. Whatever. I don't care that this movie has an inconclusive ending, but I don't like that all that really was shown to us as a motive was the kid getting a paper ball thrown at him. Stupid. If this is supposed to be a reinterpretation of Columbine, he should be locked up from all film equipment, because he did a poor job. I think the actors and actresses were all mediocre, which I suppose worked in favor since it was supposed (again trying too hard) to be a "normal" highschool on a "normal" day. The actual film of the movie was beautifully shot, but the way it was shot (the long drags, the pointless following scenes) threw me off. The 5 to 15-minute dialog-less points I nearly fell asleep during. I want to appreciate his craft, but this is an insanely overhyped (one of the most I've ever seen) movie, THAT I RECOMMEND TO NO-ONE!!! Expand
  65. MattA
    Oct 25, 2008
    9
    This movie will not be understood by everyone. For the people who only see this film as one of Stereotypes, violence, and teen melodrama...then you've missed the entire point of the film. We as the viewer feel just as outcast and surface as many of these characters. We can't fully understand them...because who truely understands teenagers? We are stuck on the outside looking in. This movie will not be understood by everyone. For the people who only see this film as one of Stereotypes, violence, and teen melodrama...then you've missed the entire point of the film. We as the viewer feel just as outcast and surface as many of these characters. We can't fully understand them...because who truely understands teenagers? We are stuck on the outside looking in. This film doesn't give explainations to why these things happen, or for what motivations are behind our own actions. It just shows how everybody has their own thoughts and feelings about the world around them, and react to the situations differently. It is a great film for teenagers to see. To tell them that they aren't the only ones who feel in the world. Everybody does. Expand
  66. Aug 5, 2012
    8
    This is one of those movies that is not for everyone. This is a very "directorial" movies, by that I mean you will either like the style and find it interesting or you will dislike it and find it extremely boring. I really liked the style that Gus Van Sant went for. The the various point of views of the characters, the slow pacing and the improvised dialogue all added to the movie, itThis is one of those movies that is not for everyone. This is a very "directorial" movies, by that I mean you will either like the style and find it interesting or you will dislike it and find it extremely boring. I really liked the style that Gus Van Sant went for. The the various point of views of the characters, the slow pacing and the improvised dialogue all added to the movie, it made it fell very organic. Also the slow pacing made you fell very comfortable, almost like it was trying to make you let you guard down for what we all know is inevitably going to happen. Also the slow pacing and random people talking and thing happening around the focus character just reinforce the feeling of realness. Because in reality highschool is like that, it is boring, it is slow, things happen around you that you don't affect you or you participate in, and that also makes what happens even more devastating. As for the acting, it was all very good especially considering that this was most (if not all) of their first time acting. Alex Frost was definitely the stand out for me, as was Eric Deulen. Also the movies also isn't preachy, it doesn't force anything down your throat, it just presents what happens and leaves you to make your own decisions on why things happened. And if you do watch it, keep in mind that the majority of the movie takes place within the period of about ten minutes. 8.8/10 Expand
  67. Sep 20, 2010
    7
    Through the end, this movie is quite dreary, gloomy, and even egregious for some explicitly violent scenes. However, Van Sant makes this movie astonishing, and this move is totally sensational.
  68. Mar 31, 2011
    10
    Gus Van Sant--A **** genius. This is one of the greatest movies that he's done. And that would be saying a lot, considering his track record. It's just brilliant.
  69. Jan 6, 2011
    9
    An absolutely stunning movie. I understand that many doesn't like it, but I loved it.
    It was one of the most beautiful movie I've ever seen, and it is patient and doesn't run to the action. All the characters seems natural, unlike most blockbusters were the characters doesn't act as they would in real life. It shows the beauty of life, and it makes you reflect over everyone 's life.
    Those
    An absolutely stunning movie. I understand that many doesn't like it, but I loved it.
    It was one of the most beautiful movie I've ever seen, and it is patient and doesn't run to the action. All the characters seems natural, unlike most blockbusters were the characters doesn't act as they would in real life. It shows the beauty of life, and it makes you reflect over everyone 's life.

    Those who say it sucked, probably want something to happen in a movie, and they don't go to art exhibitions regularly. When you watch this movie, you have to enjoy it. If you just watch it just for entertainment, you won't get much out of it.
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  70. Apr 29, 2011
    9
    An amazing movie. As you can see by all the negative votes, it's not one of the idiotic, spezial-effect packed movies that you see in the cinemas too often. It showcases the incident without creating the "good ones" and the "bad ones". It's up to one to judge. If all you want to see is pure action without anything even close to a story, skip this one, because this will make you think.An amazing movie. As you can see by all the negative votes, it's not one of the idiotic, spezial-effect packed movies that you see in the cinemas too often. It showcases the incident without creating the "good ones" and the "bad ones". It's up to one to judge. If all you want to see is pure action without anything even close to a story, skip this one, because this will make you think. Overall a great movie, but not really suited for everyone. Expand
  71. May 20, 2013
    1
    Here we go. And I thought "Natural Born Killers" was bad. I was glad that I had some cold drinks while "Date Movie" was playing, even gladder to turn it off.

    And now, possibly the worst film ever made, "Elephant". Don't read this if you have any intention of seeing this movie. I suggest you do something more rewarding though...have you clipped your toenails? You could also count the
    Here we go. And I thought "Natural Born Killers" was bad. I was glad that I had some cold drinks while "Date Movie" was playing, even gladder to turn it off.

    And now, possibly the worst film ever made, "Elephant".

    Don't read this if you have any intention of seeing this movie. I suggest you do something more rewarding though...have you clipped your toenails? You could also count the grains of salt in a salt shaker, that could be okay.

    I wasn't offended by the content, but by the complete banality of this movie. I know, I know, it was supposed to be like "real" life. It's supposed to be "art". But just because something is filmed differently doesn't mean it's any good.

    Here is the story (you don't need to read this if you know anything about the Columbine school shooting): It's a regular day at high school, until two misfit kids bring in guns and kill a bunch of people. There you go.

    This movie was LAZY. There was not one good character in this film. Of course, this was also for the purpose of being more "real", but come on. The "protagonists" were cookie cutter stereotypes the artsy photographer, the jock, the bulimic girls, the cafeteria workers smoking weed, etc...etc........And the acting! Yikes. The scene at the end, where the blond kid is "warning" others not to enter the school? I doubt the script's instructions said "With little-no urgency". Think "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" (Gene Wilder) in the scenes where the kids are going to so something bad and Wonka goes, "Oh. no. stop. don't."

    Apart from the piano playing (and even malicious teen boys who are into Beethoven is NOT an original idea, hello, Clockwork Orange), the boys who bring the guns into the school at the end are such a cliche slightly less good looking than the other kids, dressed in military clothes, into Nazis ("Heavens to Betsy! They're watching videos of Hitler! They're EVIL, I just caught on!") and violent video games, homosexual tendencies (of course the homosexual kids HAVE to be the f***ed up outcasts, right?)...it wasn't even clear that they were being antagonized at school apart from a spitball being thrown at one of them at one point.

    Instead of, well, anything, we are subjected to watching the back of some kid's head to the soundtrack of Beethoven's ENTIRE "Moonlight Sonata" as he walks through his (very extensive) high school grounds. We are subjected to the same scene played repeatedly through "different perspectives". We are shown a bunch of clouds throughout Beethoven's "Fur Elise." Please.

    And let's not forget about the movie's "messages", which were about as subtle as a sledgehammer. Real art raises, and even answers questions. This movie just insulted my intelligence. Yes, guns are WAYYY to easy to obtain in the USA (although I don't think Van Sant did his research for the scene in "Elephant"). Yes, no one takes the time to KNOW these kids, and we'll never know the reason for this senseless tragedy. Yes, parents should be more present in their kids' lives. Yes, violence is awful and pointless. Oh yeah, and school shootings are X-tra baaaad.

    Gus Van Sant just took advantage of a subject people were sensitive about. Gus Van Sant capitalizes on real tragedy with this thing.

    It had nothing to say. It's just awful and possibly insulting for people who had to deal with these issues in real life, and not on some cushy, pretentious art-house movie set.
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  72. Nov 28, 2012
    6
    The subject matter is utterly appalling, but there's no doubting it's a very well made film.
  73. Apr 12, 2013
    6
    it disturbs me as to how many of those "users" who reviewed this film did so only at face value, and did nothing more than judge it by it's superficial exterior without giving any thought of it's social commentary. Maybe they'd forgotten that typical high school tropes (once viewed as benign) had taken a dramatic and violent left turn over the course of the last 30 years. Maybe they'veit disturbs me as to how many of those "users" who reviewed this film did so only at face value, and did nothing more than judge it by it's superficial exterior without giving any thought of it's social commentary. Maybe they'd forgotten that typical high school tropes (once viewed as benign) had taken a dramatic and violent left turn over the course of the last 30 years. Maybe they've forgotten the dirty ramifications of our countries past and flippant attitude pertaining the law of guns (using the second amendment as the proverbial crutch to further purify their agenda). Maybe, and just maybe, a movie like 'Elephant' gives supporters of lax gun laws another reason to cry bloody murder, re-thrown back towards the film industry. Who knows. regardless, there is a story to tell in Gus Van Sant's shocking (though cathartic) tale of a typical (or "typically violent") day in america's public school system......and for once, it doesn't have to be soft, or even pretty.

    not a bad film (though not an extraordinary film) 'elephant' is a vivid and fictional depiction of a typical American high school shooting; one that nearly mimicks to the 'T' the events of April 20, 1999....or simply, the Columbine Massacre. Whether it mimicks it or not, it follows in a series of many shootings that has kept the nation in proverbial stalemate, often times being the catalyst to current gun laws and the feasability of an archaic second amendment to the American constitution. No matter what side of the fence you reside on, the connotations of lax gun laws in this film are not only prevalent, but glaring. Take for instance a scene depicting an 18 year old kid purchasing a high powered assault rifle over the internet. Is that troubling enough for you?

    This isn't exactly a far fetched Suspense/Horror film shot with an art-house aesthetic.......these things actually happen.

    Whether there is validity in the films claims, it really doesn't matter. Albeit, not entirely a moot point, the fact that the fllm was still met with a barrage of unnecessary bad reviews says a lot about our nations apathy towards gun violence, and the kids who remain victim of it today.

    As for the movie......it is a bit trite and somewhat pretentious at times. It still manages a decent commentary on today's standards of low morals, false empowerment (by both the bullies and those who kill them) and the collective apathetic eye of the world. If you are bothered by this movie, or in any way find it to be in bad taste, try to remember what you did the day you learned about the Sandy Hook Murders. If you only read an article about it, congrats. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, absolute congrats. If you can tell me the name of the killer, some of the names of the children, the rifle that was used in the killings and some of the conspiracy theories passed around the internet........well, then you are in fact the reason major news corps love reporting on these things; 24/7 and for the world to see. *3.5 out of 5 stars"
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  74. Mar 24, 2015
    10
    Don't let the title fool you. The movie doesn't have elephant in it, but it has a deep meaning to it that will make your feel like mash after thinking about it to long.

    The story is about high school violence that unfolds on an ordinary school day, inside an American high school, filled with schoolwork, football, gossip and socializing. For each of the students we meet, high school is a
    Don't let the title fool you. The movie doesn't have elephant in it, but it has a deep meaning to it that will make your feel like mash after thinking about it to long.

    The story is about high school violence that unfolds on an ordinary school day, inside an American high school, filled with schoolwork, football, gossip and socializing. For each of the students we meet, high school is a different experience: stimulating, friendly, traumatic, lonely, hard.

    Elephant is loosely based on the school shooting in 1999 known as Columbine High School massacre with the shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. When I say loosely I really mean loosely because this isn't base on a true story bullsh't that you always get in movies, no it's actually Gus Van Sant wanted to make a movie relating to the biggest school massacre of all time and showing loneliness and depression due to bully and the big things around them which later ended violently.

    Now this movie isn't for anyone and those's who are expecting the first, second and third act or just a simple movie, well your not going to get some of that. The ending without giving anything away ended in a way that I felt loads of people are saying to themselves "What the hell, what was that about? what the hell did I just watch and why did it end like that?". I won't lie but I took me time to think over the ending and after doing some research I think I got it, but if I have to explain it to you means spoiling it for you and I like people to go into a movie with only knowing the story and that's it.

    Gus Van Sant directed this movie in a way that it has a depressing and lonely feel to it at time or maybe it's just me, but anywhere he directed this movie excellently and probably my second favorite movie from him.

    The long shot takes and the fact the movie is set in one day and the different day the characters have I thought it was brilliant and a smart move to do. To be honest I didn't notice this until late on in the movie.

    For problems I didn't really have any. The acting was all good, the directing as I said before was filmed top notch and the fact that movie leaves you hanging cold cold.
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Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 37
  2. Negative: 2 out of 37
  1. 60
    In the end, this odd, beautiful movie is remote and more suggestive than satisfying--a coolly impassive film about catastrophe made at a time when some of us might prefer an attempt at explanation. And yet Elephant is something to see. [27 October 2003, p. 112]
  2. It’s just another example of art-house hokey-pokey. Amazingly, this film won both the Palme d’Or and Best Director Award at Cannes, beating out, among others, "Mystic River."
  3. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    100
    I haven't been crazy about a lot of Van Sant's recent work, but what he does here is simply astonishing. [November 2003, p. 25]