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Elephant (HBO)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, John Robinson, Elias McConnell, Jordan Taylor
  • Directors: Gus Van Sant
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS ES), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: April 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (350 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001EFUFK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,550 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Elephant (HBO)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Making-of featurette

Editorial Reviews

Winner of the Palme d'Or and Best Director prizes at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, Gus Van Sant's (Good Will Hunting, Finding Forrester) Elephant takes us inside an American high school on one, single ordinary day that very rapidly turns tragic. Elephant demonstrates that high school life is a complex landscape where the vitality and beauty of young lives can shift from light to darkness with surreal speed. It's an ordinary high school day. Except that it's not.

DVD Features:
Featurette:On the Set of Elephant: "Rolling Through Time"
Full Screen Version
TV Spot:HBO Films Spot
Theatrical Trailer

Customer Reviews

Ultimately, "Elephant" ends up being just another violent film with characters that lack depth.
First of all, if you don't know that most of this movie is very slow and dull (not in a bad way) before watching it, then you'll most probably not like the film.
Elephant centers around high school kids walking down halls, and people will tell you that this is supposed to emphasize how boring life is.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Richard Nelson on June 17, 2004
Format: DVD
Not many people saw this movie in theatres, which is probably a shame; I think the mood of the film would be enhanced by being trapped in your seat the entire time. Gus Van Sant takes advantage of the fact that you already know what his movie is about: a high school shooting. He uses your knowledge to his advantage by playing on the tension you inevitably feel as you wonder, "Will it happen now? Now? Now?" Framing his shots to limit your view, he lets you wonder, all through the movie, what is going on just outside the frame--and eventually forces you to think about how, if many of the kids you're watching would do the same and think about things outside of their own small worlds, the tragic end of the movie might never arrive. But the movie doesn't offer solutions nearly as neat and tidy as that; it simply allows a day to unfold before your eyes, lets you see the world as it's experienced by both the killers and their victims, and shows both how hard it is to see the signs that someone is capable of such a massacre and how easy it might be if people would only pay attention.
And then there's the kiss, which has caused Van Sant no small amount of frustration. Without ruining the tension for those of you who choose to give 80 minutes to this movie, I can tell you that at one point the two killers, about to head for school to act out their plan, get in the shower together--or does one ambush the other? I'm really not sure if the first occupant of the shower knows the second will join him; I don't think we're meant to think that this has happened before. But he walks in, joins his only friend, and says, "Today's the day we're going to die...I never even kissed anyone, did you?
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By G P Padillo VINE VOICE on February 14, 2005
Format: DVD
Elephant was a little too "real" for many tastes. I didn't enjoy the film as I watched it the first time, but thought van Sant did (as always) a terrific job presenting what he wanted to present - if not necessarily my type of movie. The film hasn't left me and the more I think about it - and rewatch it, the better it becomes.

Initially I felt the sense of ennui was a tad overdone watching the back of a student's head as he slowly moves from point A to point B - sometimes for endless minutes on end the camera will not break from that vantage point - the back of a head. The point seemed made both literally and succinctly the first time. Nonetheless, this device frees the narrative and affords van Sant opportunity to move his film in non-linear directions so the glimpse of a face unseen earlier is now viewed in full relief, a snatch of conversation previously heard comes into focus - even if briefly.

There are elements of the film that are touching and keenly observant. While van Sant has typically focused on youth for his body of work, these elements are evident in all ages but noticeably and most strongly pronounced in youth, those hormone filled, confusing years where, completely unbeknownst to us, its victims, life is pretty much going to be the same, and one can change high school for the factory, the hospital, the law firm, the insurance company or wherever you spend your days and those with whom you spend them.

As with life, some characters will stay with you, some you'd wish to know better, others (the three bulimic girlfriends) who natter on endlessly about nothing - and whose existence one forgets entirely - until the next encounter.

There is more than a little heartbreak in Elephant.
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87 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin on December 3, 2003
In ELEPHANT, director Gus Van Sant provides us with a day in the life of a high school, seen literally from the perspective of several students. Life in high school is presented realistically as boring. Some people have good times; others don't. Even the awkward girl isn't given many scenes to generate sympathy for her character. As a viewer, you don't really get to know much about any of the characters. You see that some of them are talented. Some of them are troubled. Some of them are just going through the motions.
Going into the film, you should be aware that a shooting will happen on this day. But, while watching it, you don't know when it's going to happen, who's going to do it, who's going to live or who's going to die. But the sense of dread you get builds as the film goes along.
Once the film identifies the shooters, we get a brief glimpse of their home life. We see how they got the guns. We get only an idea of the sort of video games they play, the films they watch, the drawings they've created. (The only real elephant seen in the film is a drawing that one of the killers has done and placed on his wall. He doesn't talk about it. We just see it.) We see one of them is a really good piano player. We see that he gets occasionally picked on by bullies, but we don't get the sense that he's overcome with a need for vengeance. We see the killers speak of the last day of their lives, and they kiss. We don't know if it's the first time they have done this. We don't know if they're gay or straight. I got the sense that this is the only time that they'll get a chance to kiss anyone, so they kiss each other. (Van Sant himself is gay, which I think is key. He's not suggesting that gay people are killers. But he's not saying that the killers in his film weren't repressed homosexuals, either.
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