****There Is a Phrase In This Review That Might Be Considered a SPOILER!*****
Deciding to watch a film like ELEPHANT KING is always a gamble. Ellen Burstyn was the only easily recognizable name. DVD artwork Layout and IMDb synopsis looked interesting; shot mostly in Thailand by an international crew. I took a chance! Lucky me! This is one gamble that paid off nicely-In The End-BOTH literally and figuratively!
Here's a direct quote from IMDb: "...won Best Picture/Best Score at Sacramento International Film Festival. Jonno Roberts was Nominated for Best Actor." It's a rather sad commentary on the realities of film marketing/distribution that an unpretentious little wonder like this, made in 2006, only received Limited 2008 theater release, and took another year to be released on DVD! The first half of the Blurb is erroneous. The author either didn't:
A) Actually see ELEPHANT, or
B) Missed the opening minutes, or
C) Didn't pay the slightest attention to the opening.
Perhaps the TITLE may conjure up grandiose expectations of regal splendor and sumptuous royalty. There is certainly none of that here. There is a baby elephant, which besides offering detached moments of poignancy, also serves a pivotal symbolic and metaphoric purpose, at least before the film ends. Incidentally, the ensemble performance was remarkable.
Seth Grossman (Butterfly Effect 3) must be complimented on his understated, evenhanded direction, which, when coupled with the outstanding acting; spot on depiction of the vapid, high-energy emptiness of Thailand's nightlife and its minions; the highly nuanced very late-bloomer coming-of-age transformation and self-discovery of the younger brother central character; as he finally manages to free himself from the gravitational pull of his slacker older brother; Plus the low-key ever-so-slightly surreal Buddhist/Zen spin that is imparted via a bittersweet finale that manages to neatly "THAI" together most of ELEPHANT's loose ends, make it a solid 9* experience!
Before viewing ELEPHANT, I recommend you contemplate this THAI proverb: Patience and Forbearance are always rewarded with Happiness!.....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!
Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!