7.2/10
74,895
696 user 217 critic

Elephant (2003)

Several ordinary high school students go through their daily routine as two others prepare for something more malevolent.

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Writer:

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4,150 ( 45)

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8 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Jordan Taylor ...
Jordan
...
Carrie
Nicole George ...
Nicole
Brittany Mountain ...
Brittany
Alicia Miles ...
Acadia
...
Michelle
Bennie Dixon ...
Benny
...
Nathan
...
Mr. McFarland
...
Mr. Luce
Ellis Williams ...
GSA Teacher (as Ellis E. Williams)
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An ordinary high school day. Except that it's not.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent content, language, brief sexuality and drug use - all involving teens | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 November 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elefante  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,229,210 (France) (24 October 2003)

Gross:

$1,227,000 (USA) (28 December 2003)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When we see Alex and Eric sleeping, we can see the cover of the book Eric has been reading: US Army Technical Manual #31-201-1, which covers the making and use of Incendiary devices. See more »

Goofs

The shot guy's (Nate's) blood is too high on the door in a later scene when Benny comes to that room to help the girl (Acadia). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mr. McFarland: What? Hey! Where are you going? Come here.
John McFarland: Oh, my God, Dad.
Mr. McFarland: Get in the car. You're gonna be late for school. Come on.
John McFarland: Mom's gonna kill you.
See more »

Connections

References The Shining (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Beneath the Forest Floor
Written and Performed by Hildegard Westerkamp
Courtesy of empreintes DIGITALes
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User Reviews

 
8/10 good dialogue, unique storytelling
6 June 2004 | by (Albuquerque, USA) – See all my reviews

This movie is a fictional story, but it is essentially a retelling of the Columbine High massacre. It only spans maybe an hour in time, but it coves the points of view of a lot of people, from victims to bystanders to the murderers themselves.

It's a particularly important piece because of its storytelling style. Van Sant has the camera follow one character at a time, on the day of the murders, and lets the story tell itself. It is about as neutral as one can get, really. Van Sant doesn't use foreshadowing, he doesn't frame any character up as a particular archetype, he doesn't play ominous music, and the dialogue is about as inane and high school-ish as you can get, very realistic actually. There are no jokes, and relatively few scenes designed for maximum shock effect. That's the whole point: the situation was a normal high school day, and the very events, regardless of how you paint them, should be as shocking as anything. All the while you're asking yourself, "How can this possibly lead to a massacre? These are all normal kids," which faithfully recreates the tone of morning leading up the unexpected real life events.

If you're looking for a conventional movie with a clear beginning, middle, end, good and bad guys, glorified heroism and demonized violence, you won't like this movie, it's not a made for TV special, it's closer to an art film.

Some people have expressed anger at the movie, accusing it of some sort of liberal Michael Moore anti-2nd amendment sympathies or heavy handed preaching. Having seen it I can't possibly understand what they're talking about. My suspicion is that they're seeing what they want to see. And that leads me to wonder just what a good movie about Columbine would look like, in their opinions. To me, this is it.


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