(2003)

Critic Reviews

70

Metascore

Based on 37 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Chicago Sun-Times
It simply looks at the day as it unfolds, and that is a brave and radical act; it refuses to supply reasons and assign cures, so that we can close the case and move on.
100
The atmosphere is hypo-stylized, vividly generic and worse than real, like a doomy Frederick Wiseman documentary.
100
Van Sant gives no pat or easy answers. Instead he makes us squirm, worry, and think. That's why Elephant is a must-see movie.
100
Miami Herald
Makes the Columbine shootings seem both abstract yet more painful and vivid. It also gets you excited all over again about the things movies can do.
100
Premiere
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]
90
Wall Street Journal
Calmly, almost serenely, Mr. Van Sant and his superb cinematographer, Harris Savides, reveal a vision of contemporary American youth quite unlike any other.
88
To those who see no purpose to this film, I say the purpose is learning not to turn a blind eye. The unique and unforgettable Elephant keeps its eyes wide open.
75
Entertainment Weekly
Beauty competes with vacuity in Elephant, and for a good stretch of writer-director Gus Van Sant's maddeningly passive ode to high school innocence and Columbine-age youthful evil, beauty wins.
75
San Francisco Chronicle
A haunting elegy on the unpredictability of life. Never knowing what the next minute might bring is the elephant in all our lives.
75
Philadelphia Inquirer
The film equivalent of Maya Lin's Vietnam monument, that collective gravestone to the fallen, in the way it employs abstract means to quantify the loss of life and elicit a profound sense of grief.
50
New York Daily News
A ­movie that takes impartiality to new places artistically. The film is infuriating.

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