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3.5 9
Director: Gus Van Sant

Cast: Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, John Robinson

Gus Van Sant's Palme d'Or-winning drama about a school shooting, Elephant, will probably be seen by more people on this DVD than saw it in the theater. The film is presented in two transfers. The standard full-frame transfer preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is preferable to the widescreen image. The carefully constructed English


Gus Van Sant's Palme d'Or-winning drama about a school shooting, Elephant, will probably be seen by more people on this DVD than saw it in the theater. The film is presented in two transfers. The standard full-frame transfer preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is preferable to the widescreen image. The carefully constructed English soundtrack is rendered in DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1, and Dolby Digital Stereo. Spanish and French soundtracks are included as well. English, Spanish, and French subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include a 12-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that offers no insight into the making of the film, but does offer candid looks at the nonprofessional actors as they worked on the film. The original theatrical trailer, and a promotional spot for HBO Pictures rounds out this solid release.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
In Elephant, Gus Van Sant takes the lessons in minimalism he learned while making Gerry and uses them to achieve socially relevant art. Van Sant utilizes very long takes that often involve slow, intricate, and complicated Steadicam work. The style serves the film's goals, not the filmmakers' egos. The viewer gets the sense that what is transpiring onscreen has not been painstakingly choreographed, but has simply been recorded on the fly. The unknown teenagers cast in all of the roles underscore the verisimilitude. While the film could easily slip into sensationalism and horror clichés, Van Sant keeps everything even-handed. He never wallows in gore and terror, but he still manages to show the attack in such a way that recognizes the horror without emotionally hijacking the viewer. One gets the sense that the director has cried all he can for the victims and now wants to figure out why this happened. Van Sant has said that the title of the film references the classic "elephant in the room" -- the thing affecting everybody that nobody wants to talk about. Van Sant does not appear to take a stand on why his characters commit these terrible acts -- he offers up no answers. But what he does offer, with the help of Harris Savides' observant camerawork, is a documentary-like presentation of two days in a place that experiences a school massacre. Great art often asks questions. With Elephant, Van Sant has created art that provides a reasoned, non-judgmental starting point for an important conversation about our culture.
New York Times - A.O. Scott
By making the camera an observer, we get a perspective that often comes out of horror movies, a choice that whips the ordinary with the terrifying, an unforgettable mix.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
Many viewers will leave this film as unsatisfied and angry as Variety's Todd McCarthy, who wrote after it won the Golden Palm at Cannes 2003 that it was "pointless at best and irresponsible at worst." I think its responsibility comes precisely in its refusal to provide a point.
Boston Globe - Wesley Morris
The movie is an 86-minute cosmic provocation to rethink how we talk about the unspeakable, the scapegoats we look for, the effigies we burn.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Hbo Home Video
Region Code:
[Full Frame, Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital, DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

On the set of Elephant: "Rolling Through Time."

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alex Frost Alex
Eric Deulen Eric
John Robinson John
Elias McConnell Eli
Jordan Taylor Jordan
Carrie Finklea Carrie
Nicole George Nicole
Brittany Mountain Brittany
Alicia Miles Acadia
Kristen Hicks Michelle
Bennie Dixon Benny
Nathan Tyson Nathan
Timothy Bottoms Mr. McFarland
Matt Malloy Mr. Luce
Ellis Williams GSA Teacher

Technical Credits
Gus Van Sant Director,Editor,Screenwriter
Felix Andrew Sound/Sound Designer
Mali Finn Casting
Benjamin Hayden Art Director
Jay Hernandez Associate Producer
Jay Hernandez Associate Producer
Diane Keaton Executive Producer
J.T. Leroy Associate Producer
Bill Robinson Executive Producer
Harris Savides Cinematographer
Leslie Shatz Sound/Sound Designer
Danny Stoltz Casting
Dany Wolf Asst. Director,Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 -- Pan and Scan
1. Parental Guidance [1:25]
2. Signing Out [6:39]
3. Compassion [3:08]
4. Too Young [3:01]
5. Unseen or Ignored [4:43]
6. Alone, in a Darkroom [1:02]
7. Never Good Enough [2:55]
8. Mixed Signals [2:20]
9. Influence [9:13]
10. Final Details [4:29]
11. Ruthless [6:48]
12. Wake-Up Call [3:09]
13. No Way Out [4:36]


Customer Reviews

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Elephant 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Elephant is the best movie i have ever seen. I can't recommend this film for everyone, because it requires an open mind and an appreciation for creative art. Van Sant has far surpassed his other films with this artistic masterpiece. This movie is beautiful in a truly poetic way, and far different from any film i have ever seen. Watching this movie is not a cinematic experience at all, but an experience that is all too real.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i'm sure you know of the controversial subject that is school shootings and what not. its the main theme in the film from the director who did good will hunting. when you watch this i'm letting you know now that it starts off slow and there are long takes with characters walking around and mostly improv dialogue so you can tell that some or most of the acting is fake. maybe because most of the people in the film aren't really professionals. this film seemed and had a look to it that's like real and creepy at the same time. at times it seems a little ridiculous and sad. watch the film at least once to see what i mean or you can be the judge yourself. beware for some intense moments near the end. you could probably relate to at least one character when you were in high school. i'm not saying its the most amazing movie ever but its a movie though deals with real life fears. so watch with an open mind or don't watch at all. interesting title though and the camera shots were nice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is terrible. It is trying way too hard to be an indie film. You have to sit through about 30 minutes of people walking down hallways. I would reccomend you watch it if you want a good laugh at how bad it is. It's like a modern day Plan 9 From Outerspace.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great movie. I just saw it and I want to see it again. It really makes you think.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an incredible movie that was well told. I think the acting could have been improved but other than that it was a good movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is horrible. This movie being an independent film, I understand that long akward pauses are to be expected. But I could not stand the fact that Gus van Sant thought it neccesary to include scene after scene of people just walking. I fast forwarded through half the movie! The ending was horribly executed if you can call that sorry excuse for an ending an ending at all. It was extremely boring and the only reason why I thought about the movie after it was over was because it was so bad and I kept on wondering how Gus Van sant could come out with such a disaster of a movie. There was no character development whatsoever. I felt no sorrow for any one who died and I am usually a compassionate person. I bought this DVD with high expectations but trust me when I saw I was extremely dissapointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is amazing though movie snobs may not find it to their likeing bacause it may not be experimental and groundbreaking enough,in a way normal people would say its wired. It is in fact a very inovative and moving film. It also leaves YOU in suspense and doesnt allow you quick satisfaction, like so many with short attention spands feel is needed today, like those movie snobs, This is a great movie SEE IT!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this movie was incredible. After I saw I could not sleep. It really made me wonder "what if it happened to me?". The movie took a while before it got to the main event. The actors could of been a lot better. This lets you see everything through different peoples eyes. This movie also surpises you with every seen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Van Sant's interpretation of violence in schools is quite illuminating--the connections between the Columbine shooting and the film are implied in such a way that an English teacher of mine says "it is an artistic documentary more than it is art." Best of all, Van Sant offers no explanation or scapegoat for the tragedies school shootings are. Gus Van Sant offers a truly convincing visual effect, using long continuous shots with few (if any) instances of multiple camera angles in a single shot. As each scene is replayed from the perspective of another character, more is revealed about the realities of high schools. Yes, the film moves slowly--and tensions build into the point of frenzy. Yet, climactic action is executed with complete calm. Then, almost before it began, it is over. Van Sant is careful not to cross the line between tasteful representation and immortalization of tragedy and fictionalized, desensitizing horror.