cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Click for full sized poster


Starring nobody
Written and Directed by Gus Van Sant

IN SHORT: They loved it in France . . . [Rated R for disturbing violent content, language, brief sexuality and drug use - all involving teens. 81 minutes]

. . . and we remind you all that it was a French critic who posited the idea that the best films were the ones which recreated life in a manner as close to the "real thing" as possible. With the advent of steadicam technology, which has been with us for a number of years now, this theory of film making can be well explored. Gus Van Sant's Elephant -- not from the old story about blind men describing an elephant but from a BBC documentary about neverending and pointless violence in Northern Ireland -- displays this stream of life as well as anyone can. We've written it before and we'll do it again here: Life is boring. This film is boring and if there is a reason why two kidlets should take pleasure in trying to burn down their school and kill their fellow students, nothing in this film gives you the slightest reason as to why. Thus, "elephant".

Of course, we don't get to hear the conflicting descriptions of the perceptions of the participants and/or victims of shootings at Watt High, somewhere in Oregon. That's a deliberate choice of the filmmakers; not to write a dialogued story, but to let their novice actors improvise as if to recreate life. Not to show cause, just effect. Actually, we don't get to see much effect, either. The film goes to black even as the killings continue. That's what happens when you have no point to make, no story to tell, nothing but the craft of making the film. Thus, France.

We begin a day before and meet a whole passel of potential victims, each of whom get their own titled portion of the film: John McFarland (John Robinson), whose father is a drunk; Elias (Elias McConnell) a budding photographer; Carrie and Nate (Carrie Finklea and Nathan Tyson) who discuss "the appointment" [wink wink]; Benny (Bennie Dixon) the one black student we meet; Eric and Alex (Eric Deulen and Alex Frost ) who arrive in camouflage gear lugging duffel bags and warn John to "get the hell away"; Michelle (Kristen Hicks) a nerdish girl; Brittany, Jordan and Nicole (Brittany Mountain, Jordan Taylor and Nicole George) the most popular clique in this crowd of kidlets. They've got their own disorder but, since it's the high point, comedy-wise, in this film we'll leave it to surprise those who plant.

Well, someone out there likes deliberately point-of-view-less films. If that's you, you'll be in hog heaven. Buy your cappuccino and discuss motives and perspective and all those lovely film theory things long into the night. Those that sat through Van Sant's last epic, another point-free waste of time called Gerry, know from comparison whether or not they'll enjoy the equally point free Elephant.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Elephant, he would have paid . . .;


Avoid. Just like the bullets flying through the halls.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Gus Van Sant
Click Here!

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.