7.2/10
78,440
693 user 210 critic
Trailer
2:08 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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
Reviews
Popularity
3,710 ( 405)
8 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Paranoid Park (2007)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A teenage skateboarder's life begins to fray after he is involved in the accidental death of a security guard.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Gabe Nevins, Daniel Liu, Taylor Momsen
Last Days (2005)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A Seattle musician's life and career are reminiscent to those of Kurt Cobain.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Michael Pitt, Lukas Haas, Asia Argento
Gerry (2002)
Adventure | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A friendship between two young men is tested when they go for a hike in a desert and forget to bring any water or food with them.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Casey Affleck, Matt Damon
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two best friends living on the streets of Portland as hustlers embark on a journey of self discovery and find their relationship stumbling along the way.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, James Russo
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A pharmacy-robbing dope fiend and his crew pop pills and evade the law.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James Le Gros
Restless I (2011)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The story of a terminally ill teenage girl who falls for a boy who likes to attend funerals and their encounters with the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Mia Wasikowska, Henry Hopper, Ryo Kase
Kids (1995)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A day in the life of a group of teens as they travel around New York City skating, drinking, smoking, and deflowering virgins.

Director: Larry Clark
Stars: Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, Chloë Sevigny
To Die For (1995)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A beautiful but naïve aspiring television personality films a documentary on teenagers with a darker ulterior motive.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, Joaquin Phoenix
Mala Noche (1986)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A story of amour fou. Walt is madly in love/lust with a young illegal Mexican immigrant. However, the object of his unrequited affection doesn't even speak any English and finds Walt really... See full summary »

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Tim Streeter, Doug Cooeyate, Ray Monge
Edit

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)
Edit

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 »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

14 November 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Elefante See more »

Edit

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 »
Edit

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

Alex and Eric order the gun online, which is illegal as you would either have to have it sent to a federally licensed gun dealer, or they would have to have a federal firearms license (FFL). 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 »


Soundtracks

Für Elise
(1810)
Traditional
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Courtesy of FirstCom Music, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Elegantly Disturbing and Shallow
3 October 2005 | by WriterDaveSee all my reviews

I've never been a believer in Gus Van Sant the auteur. "Drugstore Cowboy" was a quasi-entertaining and promising first feature most notable for its pretty North Western scenery and the even prettier Heather Graham in her film debut, but nothing too special ever followed, and the "Pscyho" remake was an abomination on every level. Van Sant's mainstream films were successful for reasons beyond his artistic input. "To Die For" heralded Nicole Kidman's first tour de force, and "Good Will Hunting" launched the careers of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck for better and for worse.

Here, with "Elephant" Van Sant returns to the same pretty North Western scenery (just an in "Drugstore Cowboy" the movie was filmed on location in Portland, Oregon) and populates it with even prettier young men and women sleepwalking through an "interpretation" of the events of the Columbine Massacre. There's an elegant listlessness to the camera-work as Van Sant lulls us into a beautifully mundane day in the life of some random high school students. There's a creepy undercurrent, not only in the voyeuristic way in which he films his young charges, but also in the long lingering single shots of students walking through hallways and sidewalks from behind. Suddenly, as the plot of two alienated young men comes to fruition, you realize that the camera-work is meant to copy the "killer's-eye-view" of the violent and sadistic video games the young men play before making it a reality at their school. There's a rising tension that few film-makers have been able to craft, and for that Van Sant deserves accolades.

For all the artificial prettiness, this is without a doubt a highly disturbing viewing experience. In the end, some of it seemed too random (what was the point of the "Benny" character or the kiss in the shower?), and it culminates ambiguously with all the loose ends untethered. A more capable story-teller would have offered a conclusion, but all Van Sant leaves us is with some haunting classical music and beautiful shot of a cloud covered North Western sky.


69 of 133 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 693 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed