7.2/10
77,859
697 user 208 critic

Elephant (2003)

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:

Writer:

Reviews
Popularity
4,594 ( 471)
8 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Alex
... Eric
... John McFarland
... Elias
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)
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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 November 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elefante  »

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  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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

When Nathan is walking from the football field to the school, you can see tracks in the grass from the dolly used in a previous take. However, the tracks do not follow the same path as the take shown in the film. 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

Featured in Author: The JT LeRoy Story (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, No. 2 Moonlight - Adagio Sostenuto
(1800-01)
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

 
Beautiful, sensitive and chilling
17 February 2004 | by See all my reviews

There are very few films which manage to keep the entire audience seated through the credits, but this is one of those few, at least at the screening I attended. Ok, so the abrupt nature of the ending may also have had something to do with that, but I felt that rare feeling of total dislocation and nausea once the film was over, so realistic and horrific was the violence.

This disjointed examination of the causes of a Columbine style shooting works so much better, I think, than a 'straight' drama would have done. In destroying our expectations of a traditional narrative and avoiding what could have easily become cliched characterization, Gus Van Sant also demonstrates what the probable reality of a situation like this would have been, which is senseless, anti-heroic and totally random. A lesser version of this story would have had Michelle, the geeky outcast, or Benny, the brave and silent student who helps a distressed student out of a window become heroes. Their inherent goodness or strength would have them saved. Here, they are simply snatched away from us without glory, fanfare or mourning.

Van Sant's method of using long shots without dialogue or cuts works brilliantly, not only lending the film a doomy atmosphere, but also a highly lyrical quality that captures perfectly the isolation and loneliness of these characters, so often unable to communicate. These kids talk about nothing, and everything, their brief, clipped conversations pregnant with subtext. It is as close as a fictional film has come to creating truly believable, real people in recent memory (Harmony Korine 'Kids' also comes to mind).

Being less than two years out of school, one of the elements I appreciated most was the way in which the film captured the social structures of school, and that all enveloping feeling that everything is so important. After all this delicate build up, the shooting feels like a truly cataclysmic, apocalyptic event. That Van Sant shoots one seemingly unimportant scene from three points of view further enhances the sense of the randomness, and at the same time the inevitability of this event. The violence itself is extremely well handled, never glorifying or even being too explicit, and is yet completely devastating.

The only area of the film that I felt was unconvincing was the build up that we saw from the killers point of view. Having them watch a documentary about Hitler seems too heavy handed, and the nature of the relationship between the two is far too undersketched, and unnecessarily complicated by having then kiss in the shower.

Ultimately however, this is a powerful film, beautifully and sensitively made. It is one of those films, alongside Schindler's List that should be compulsory viewing for school children. It's shocking nature would be best utilized for people of this age, as I feel it would no doubt help kids to think more carefully about their actions to others.


15 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 697 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