2 Jul


Silence can be unsettling for some people, but Gus Van Sant uses the technique to unnerve audiences with the second film in his “Death Trilogy” series. Elephant is an original work based on actual events stemming from the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre. The film opens a short time before a pair of average teenage students open fire on their classmates. Van Sant strips away the sensationalism and stylized approach to death on-screen to force audiences to experience the ultra-realistic moments of taking a life and the emotionless demeanor of the killers.  He uses long takes, POV camera work, and natural lighting to capture this cast of new and non-professional actors in a way very few directors would have the guts to venture. Van Sant aesthetic choices may infuriate some people because it is an upsetting film without real closure, but these kinds of tragedies do exist and it is the artists responsibility to try to make sense of the senseless.


Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: B

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