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Monday, June 21, 2004

Elephant 

I recently saw the critically-acclaimed Elephant, recipient of the Palm-d'Or at Cannes. Quite frankly, I thought it was terrible. Elephant's storyline is apparently inspired by the Columbine school shootings, a heady subject to which the film fails to do justice. Watching this movie, I was subjected to an onslaught of tired cliché after tired cliché, stock character after stock character: e.g., the social pariah, the bully, the bulimic girls, and, of course, the disaffected youths turned maniacal gunmen, who are predictably corrupted by violent video games and America's pervasive gun culture. On and on it goes, to the point of exasperation. From beginning to end, there isn't a scintilla of originality to be found.

Also, at the risk of sounding like a philistine, I thought Elephant was a complete snoozer - despite its 80-minute runtime. The film is interspersed with many tiresome shots of people walking leisurely from point A to point B (with the camera assiduously trained on the backs of their heads, for no reason that I can discern), the dialogue is insipid, and little if any attempt is made to diagnose the causes of the school shooting that forms the climax of the film. And so, I couldn't help but wonder what in the devil had compelled the cognoscenti to heap so much praise on this specimen of mediocrity. I guess the old maxim "to each, his own" would be apt.

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