of the truest definitions of cinema as an art form is capturing
emotions through images. With the two feature films, Gerry
released in 2002, and even more so with this film, Gus Van
Sant has represented the truth and beauty of cinema. Elephant
is a deeply emotional and thought-provoking experience. Particularly
in it's approach. Van Sant doesn't focus on the motivations
or reason for the killings, but instead leaves for interpretation.
Ultimately the film, through its symbolic images and sound,
is a film asking why no one prepared or expected such a horrific
tragedy, such as this, to happen. It's much easier to point
blame, but Elephant is a film that is willing to listen, understand,
and discover. Much like Van Sant's idol, Hungarian filmmaker
Bela Tarr's 1994 eight-hour epic Satantango, Elephant is structured
in a unique, multi-layered narrative that consistently follows
several characters and times (sometimes overlapping). What
results is a flawlessly executed and involving connection
as we witness the lives and fate of the characters. Using
a mostly improvised script and all non-professional actors,the
film perfectly portrays an authentic High School environment
and attitude. Also, the mood is captivating and rather creepy.
Through Van Sant's long takes and free flowing camera, there's
a haunting undertone of doom within the films atmosphere.
Also adding to the mood is the brilliant use of Beethoven's
Moonlight Sonata (which is one of the most moving pieces of
music ever created). Elephant is a deeply emotional, sad,
and important film of undeniable power.