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Thread: Elephant - 10/24

  1. #1
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    Sep 2002

    Elephant - 10/24

    From Hollywood.com

    Synopsis: A tale 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.

    Rating: Not available
    Runtime: 81 mins.
    Cast & Role

    Matt Malloy -- Mister Luce
    Timothy Bottoms -- Mister McFarland
    Alex Frost -- Alex
    John Robinson -- John
    Elias McConnell -- Eli
    Eric Deulen -- Eric
    Jordan Taylor -- Jordan
    Carrie Finklea -- Carrie
    "That's Numberwang!"

  2. #2
    I felt numb after watching this. The killings were senseless and I'm glad GVS didn't glamourize the violence. The action sequences are actually quite dull, which sort of adds to the senselessness.

    Not a typical drama, let alone teen drama. Don't expect convention here. All the camera does is follow the students (some of them victims) around the school on the day of the massacre. It doesn't actually develop the characters with a great deal of depth. You're just living the life of each student. Doing typical things students do. You empathize for the characters by being placed in their shoes, not necessarily knowing their thoughts.

    Highly recommended.
    Last edited by happyblue; 07-11-2004 at 04:24 AM.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2003
    I've got to disagree. Taken as a whole this movie felt like a failed experiment. It's a film defined by what it's not. It's not insightful or objective. It doesn't raise new questions or answer old ones. It's not a dramatization or a documentary. It's close to a reenactment, but too many key points have been changed. As far as I can tell it's a movie trying to show the pointlessness of these tragedies by being pointless itself, in as many ways as it can.

    The characters are all underdeveloped so they end up feeling like stereotypes. Supporters will say the movie is being realistic, but you can't make a complete realistic character in just two or three scenes of ordinary activity. It leaves too many gaps, and the audience fills those gaps with assumptions based on stereotypes.

    I think the decision to cast ordinary kids instead of actors was a mistake. The kids are fine when they only need to show everyday conversations, but once the bullets start flying the director's options are limited. We never see a primary character panicking or in terror, because these kids aren't actors and they can't realistically show emotion they've never experienced in real life. Except for some extras in the background, all the characters react to the shootings with stunned silence. I know that's how most people would react but there should be SOME instances of real fear, since that's what happened at the Columbine.
    Tugboats and arson. That's all I ever get from you guys.

  4. #4
    I don't know about "real fear." I still felt the fear for the characters. I, too, wouldn't know how to react to a rifle being pointed to my head only a few feet away from me. I suppose I would feel helpless like that geek girl and try to talk them down. The other primary characters really had no choice but to express shock. The three "Heathers" were caught in the girls bathroom and had no way to escape. The jock and his girlfriend were shown in the hallways running away from the shooters, only to be caught in a fridge. And even the shooters' faces showed fear, like they couldn't believe what they were doing. All this in a picture perfect school in suburbia.

    I didn't mind the lack of character development because I still felt like I was there. Going through the motions like getting called to the principal's office, running those laps in phys ed, lining up for cafe food, getting stuff thrown at you during class behind the teacher's back (they're all blind as bats I tell you!). You didn't have to know each character's thoughts or even their backgrounds because everything and everyone were already familiar to you. For this reason, I could see how people would find this movie a bit tedious. Most people probably don't want to relive high school. But I think the way the movie was shot (with those cool long, uncut shots repeated for varying perspectives) is an interesting change of pace of how movies are currently made.

  5. #5
    I didn't like this movie either, kchamber. I found it kind of disrespectful towards the family and friend's of those whom died in Columbine. I know the movie wasn't about Columbine itself, but it was based off of it. I didn't like how the film made the killers gay, either. There is a place to talk about those types of issues, but it didn't seem like the right movie to do so -- at least not to me. And did one of the killers look like Eminem on purpose? I don't know. The first hour was boring and the ending just seemed disrespectful because it ended without showing any remorse or sorrow for those lost in Columbine. A thumbs down from me.

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