Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Movie Review - Elephant

I saw the movie Elephant this Sunday. I don't know why everyone goes on and on and on about it. It wasn't that good.

Based on the Columbine school shootings, the movie is supposed to show the series of events that happened one fine morning at a high school in the U.S when a couple of students decided to massacre their classmates and teachers. The movie traces one school morning in the lives of a number of high school students involved that day. The movie keeps backtracking to show the same scenes but from a different persons point of view. That is, it will show student A playing ball and then walking to school where he meets student B in the hall way. Let's say this entire shot takes five minutes. The camera will then pan to student B, but won't show him from after the meeting with student A. Instead, it will follow the same time graph that student A followed i.e we will see student B driving to school and then eventually meeting student A as in the first scene; only this time it's shown from student B's point of view. And it all starts from the exact same time that student A started out on; and it also takes exactly five minutes.

So that's how the movie goes on- just showing around five minutes of various different students- the photographer, the nerd, the girl gang, the son of the alcoholic father, etc. Finally it shows us the two famous school shooters-how they spent the morning preparing for the shootout that claimed so many lives. The DVD I saw had no additional information about the lives of the students or their classmates or what happened after the shootings or before. It's simply an account of what happened that day through the eyes of the students.

I found it a bit boring really. I'm not sure what Gus Van Sant(the director) was trying to do but he doesn't really open any doors for us in this movie if you know what I mean. I don't know why it won so many awards. I even felt like using the fast forward button a few times during the movie. There weren't even any special features on the DVD except a few background scenes from the making of the movie without any commentary which mostly show the actors fooling around.


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