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Best Movies by Farr

Elephant

Elephant Poster
Elephant Poster

Released

2003

Runtime

80

Elephant

Watch it On

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What's it About

Meandering down the hallways and into the classrooms of a thriving high school in well-to-do suburban Portland, this drama tracks the daily habits and routines of several teenagers – hipster John (Robinson), photographer Elias (McConnell), jock Nathan (Tyson), and a trio of snobby girls among them – in the hours before disgruntled outcasts Alex (Frost) and Eric (Deulen) orchestrate a mass murder of their fellow students.

Why we love it

A controversial re-imagining of the Columbine High School massacre, Van Sant's unsettling film is composed entirely of long, sinuous tracking shots and tight close-ups of various students going about their young lives. With his keen attention to minute details of adolescent life – some painful, as in John's parking lot kiss-off to his drunken father, or the locker room mockery of an awkward girl – Van Sant faithfully constructs a panorama of youthful experience, all unfolding in interlinked shifts of perspective. Though he offers no clear psychological explanation for Alex and Eric's homicidal rampage, that does little to diminish the haunting power of this disquieting film.