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
Most of the shots in the movie are very long and Steadicam-based. The shot of the three girls walking through the cafeteria is 5 minutes and 19 seconds long. See more »
At the beginning of the film, when John tells his dad that he wants to take over driving he walks over to the drivers side of the car. When he opens the door to get his dad out, 2 members of the crew can be seen in the reflection of the wing mirror. See more »
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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