Gus Van Sant's latest exercise in experimentation is so inconsequential and cold it makes his Psycho remake appear purposeful. The less you know going in, the better, so stop reading now if you wanna be completely spoiler-free. Still here? Life's too short, right? At least that could be the credo of the Palme d'Or-winning Elephant, which takes its title from a problem that's too big to solve.
In this case, it's teenage violence, with the Columbine massacre the obvious `inspiration' for a glide through a school day, following underplayed stereotypes (mostly non-professional actors) as their lives interlink, leading up to atrocity. Van Sant succeeds in showing the mundanity of murder, but the explanations offered (TV! Videogames! Nazis! Gun control! Bullying!) are so trite they beggar belief. The only excuse could be he's taking the piss: parroting the media explanations for brutality, to undermine the idea that there's any reason behind bloodshed. The point is, there is no point. Pass the popcorn...
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