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Elephant (2003)

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

Director:

Gus Van Sant

Writer:

Gus Van Sant
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Popularity
3,523 ( 1,514)
8 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alex Frost ... Alex
Eric Deulen ... Eric
John Robinson ... John McFarland
Elias McConnell ... Elias
Jordan Taylor Jordan Taylor ... Jordan
Carrie Finklea ... Carrie
Nicole George Nicole George ... Nicole
Brittany Mountain Brittany Mountain ... Brittany
Alicia Miles Alicia Miles ... Acadia
Kristen Hicks ... Michelle
Bennie Dixon Bennie Dixon ... Benny
Nathan Tyson ... Nathan
Timothy Bottoms ... Mr. McFarland
Matt Malloy ... Mr. Luce
Ellis Williams 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

14 November 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Elefante See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$93,356, 26 October 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,227,000, 28 December 2003

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,020,543, 8 January 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite what many critics and analysts have suggested since its release, the final film was not intended to be a pseudo-documentary about the Columbine massacre. While there's no doubt that the film was inspired by the tragedy, director Gus Van Sant meant for the film to be more of a reflection on the nature of violence and the effects of indifference. There's also a rumor that Van Sant's original intent was to make a TV film based on factual accounts of Columbine, but this rumor has remained unfounded. The film's minimalist approach, improvisational style and use of non-actors has helped to fuel these rumors over the years. See more »

Goofs

When Nate is first shown at the GSA meeting, he is seen wearing a tan shirt, then later when he walks to the door and is shot, he is wearing a blue shirt. When you see him laying on the floor after Benny enters the classroom, he's wearing a tan shirt again. 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

Referenced in Brows Held High: Gerry (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Tueren der Wahrnehmung
Written and Performed by Hildegard Westerkamp
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User Reviews

Not Just a Typical Teen Movie
18 June 2004 | by G_a_l_i_n_aSee all my reviews

It's been over five years now but we still try to understand why Columbine happened. As exploration of the tragic and shocking event, poetic, poignant, and sadly under-seen "Elephant" has no equals. The film did not have a lot of press, and my local video store had only one copy sitting on the bottom shelf.

There could be different reasons for the title: it could've came from the old saw about the elephant in the room no one notices, or from the legend of four blind men who only could feel one part of the animal and described the whole as a part; or it could've come from the fact the elephants have a good memory and remember all insults.

The film shows several kids who just spend a typical day in a typical suburban American High school that ends up in a massacre. "Elephant" asks questions: What was it like to be there that day? Who could've seen it coming? What does it mean to be an American teenager and live in the world where it happens? For many of the film's characters those questions will never be answered.

"Elephant" is painfully honest and sincere about the complexities of teenage life - the time when one tries to achieve impossible - to be unique and to fit with the crowd.

I think "Elephant" is the best film about teenagers since - well, the only one that comes to my mind is "Welcome to the Dollhouse" (1995) by Todd Solondz.

I think it is one of the best anti - violence films ever.


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