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Director Gus Van Sant returned to the low-key style of his early independent efforts with this semi-improvised exploration of how violence makes its way into a typical American high school. Eric (Eric Deulen) and Alex (Alex Frost) are two close friends who are students in a well-to-do suburb of Portland, OR. Eric and Alex are at once ordinary and misfits; while they seem to be confined to the edges of the clique-oriented social strata of high school, little about their behavior draws attention to itself. Or at least not during a typical school day; on their own time, the two boys are… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Gus Van Sant's fascinating, mysterious, semidocumentary meditation on the Columbine massacre is not very satisfying, but it's still something to see."
‑ David Denby, New Yorker
"The film doesn't try to explain, but to put us in a subjective time and space, a place where it's impossible not to feel the abject horror of random violence."
‑ , Time Out
"Elephant creates gorgeous, wide-open spaces that allow viewers the freedom to reflect without having a point-of-view imposed on them."
‑ Scott Tobias, AV Club
"One of the most stimulating and provocative films of the year."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"A film without any easy answers, or answers at all."
‑ Bill Clark, FromTheBalcony
"What I'll remember most vividly about Gus Van Sant's extraordinary "Elephant" is not the violent climax but the state of grace that precedes it."
‑ Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"Elephant is a lurid tease posing as an art film."
‑ Peter Rainer, New York Magazine
"Director Gus Van Sant takes a powerful approach to this material, without being heavy-handed."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
"Van Sant's least 'show-offy', most personal, best picture in years (maybe ever), and an honourable attempt at respectfully considering the unbearable."
‑ Kim Newman, Empire Magazine
"A morally dubious waiting game."
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
"The approach is oddly riveting, though, because the tension builds slowly, and you know what's going to happen at the end of the day."
‑ Christy Lemire, Associated Press
"A living, breathing work that's distinctively different from the regular hyper-reality of Hollywood films."
‑ Bill Muller, Arizona Republic
"One of the most disturbing films I've ever seen, one that gave me a rush of emotions of sadness, horror, disbelief, shock, and anguish."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"A failure to communicate"
‑ Louis Proyect, rec.arts.movies.reviews
"Elephant is one of this year's boldest movies....But, in refusing to assert a point of view about what troubles American youth, Van Sant...flees the scene of the crime"
‑ Jay Antani, Los Angeles Alternative
More reviews for Elephant on Rotten Tomatoes

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