Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Elephant (2003)

Hello again. Yes it has been I while since I've posted anything, mainly because I'm lazy... sorry about that, it's been a busy few days at chez Michelle. Anyway I'm back on the wagon, ready to start again and we'll start with Gus Van Sant's Elephant, another film brought to me by my cinema studies class.

Also I should mention that if my writing seems a bit, well, all over the place it's only because I've had about 4 cups of coffee in the past 2 hours and to say I'm a little over-caffeinated is a gross understatement. I'll try and be as coherent as possible but I'm not making any promises.

Elephant is part of Van Sant's death trilogy, which also includes Gerry and Last Days. Each film details an incident involving a death that has actually happened. Elephant is about the Columbine high school massacre. It follows the lives of several of the students on the day of the massacre, including one of the gunmen, Alex (Alex Frost).

There is something very ominous about Elephant, the way the camera weaves through the corridors and how the lives of the students loop around each other. The school is like a maze, you find yourself becoming lost just like the teenagers you are watching. The worst part is knowing what's going to happen, you're just waiting for them to open fire. It's not judgemental and it doesn't try to explain or blame anyone. Sometimes horrible things happen and you can't find the logic behind it.

What surprised me most was that the cast consisted mostly of new or non-proffessional actors and how well they put this together. It's completely believable, you feel for outcasts Alex, Eric and Michelle. It wasn't over the top, the death scenes are not done in typical Hollywood fashion (aka the slow-motion fall to the ground and woe-is-me face). The whole film is done in a way both minimal and moving, nothing is overstated.

I loved Elephant, and I hope if you choose to watch it you do too.
Bye for now, not forever

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