Taking on the modern horror of the Columbine school shootings, the only answer writer/director Gus Van Sant comes up with is "beats me." Van Sant randomly introduces various white, middle-class high-schoolers (all portrayed by Portland, Ore., nonpros who crafted their own dialogue) and begins an effectively nerve-wracking game of Who's the Psycho? Soon, it becomes clear that the industrial black and camouflage favored by Alex (Alex Frost) and Eric (Eric Deulen) is not just a fashion statement, and the film switches from a game of Who? to one of When?, until the inevitable bloodbath. Sometimes the elliptical "Elephant" ventures into the overtly humane, but Van Sant gets into trouble when he strays far from atmosphere, narrative experiments, and boy talk. Some glib queer-related what-the-fuck sensationalism unnecessarily mucks things up (the only sex scene in the film is between the two young murderers), and things get worse when Van Sant attempts outright humor. Ultimately, one spends more time deciphering Van Sant's film than thinking about Columbine. Stripped of the surrounding style, Alex and Eric could have summed up all the movie is willing to say about today's troubled youth in a conversation along of the lines of: "Dude, being a privileged white dude sucks!" "Totally! Let's blow some dudes away."
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.