“Eeney… Meeney… Meiny… Moe… Catch a… Tiger… By its… Toe..”
I just finished Elephant, the second film is Van Sant‘s Death Trilogy and I’m blown away. I loved this movie. I’ve been aware of it and have wanted to watch it, but never bothered to. Now I regret never having watched it.
I’ll start off by saying that it is very simple in movie in a sense. The camera shots are basically all smooth tracking shots. The film is shot so that you follow various students over the course of a day. The idea I suppose is to make it look like a documentary in that way, and it works.
The acting is rather well done considering everyone in it was either not an actual actor or relatively new to acting. It defiantly helped make things seem more believable. Which is really what makes this film so stunning. The dialogue is rather spot on and the way most of the students act to me felt real. The only “unreal” thing to me was the high school, but that is a personal thing. I come from a small town. That being said people think my high school is big and it really isn’t. This high school is a prime example. It’s huge in comparison and seems very lax, something I did not experience during my days in high school. Still, I’m aware that those schools due actually exist, so it’s not a big deal, just a weird thing to me.
Again the simplicity is amazing. It’s what makes the film work. A number of the shots are without any really dialogue. While you follow a character you may here snippets from others, but not the person your focused on. There are instances where a scene takes five minutes just following a kid, but its intriguing.
I can easily see where people could get bored. It’s not action packed. For me though it looked wonderful and that keeps me in. I also knew what it was about so I kept waiting. Even if I hadn’t, there is something in the film that really gets your attention. Even after the movie ended I wanted more.
The movie is ultimately about a school shooting, inspired by Columbine. That being the case, Van Sant did a wonderful thing when he didn’t provide motives for any of the characters. The two “killers” are shown doing moderately normal things, but you never get a reasoning. It’s left open. The other characters that are brought in are giving small snippets of background information. You get just enough for them to be human, for a small attachment, but nothing more.
I still have Last Days to watch, but right now I really want to re-watch this. Maybe tomorrow. It’s defiantly a film I intend to buy and re-watch, despite it not being the most uplifting film. The fact that it’s only 1 hour and 15 minutes long make it easy to re-watch as well.