Elephant

1989

Action / Crime / Drama

7
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 92%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 1713

Synopsis


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272.32 MB
968*720
English
NR
25 fps
12hr 39 min
P/S 0 / 4
582.2 MB
1440*1072
English
NR
25 fps
12hr 39 min
P/S 4 / 5

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Lexo-2 10 / 10

The bare facts? Or a crude simplification?

I saw Elephant when it was first broadcast on BBC TV in 1989. There was a certain amount of hoo-ha about it, as the BBC had already put it back for a few months - films about the North of Ireland were, and are, touchy subjects. Watching it is riveting. The complete absence of story, dialogue and explanation serves to bring home the fact that, after all the talk and propaganda and fine words about freeing Ireland from the British oppressors or defending Ulster from the filthy Taigs, killing is killing - people are dying, frequently and horribly, and can there ever be a "reason" for it? I grew up in sheltered south Dublin and witnessed the Troubles at second-hand, filtered through the language of journalism; Elephant brought home to me, in the most visceral way, the relentless insanity of the situation. The film should be compulsory viewing in UK and Irish schools.

The major criticism of Elephant is that it's too simple - that the lack of context and explanation aren't enough. But the serial nature of it, muder after murder after murder, have an unforgettable power. It's not meant to be an attempt at the overall picture; it's a cry of horror against an appalling situation. I saw it once, ten years ago, and have never forgotten it.

It was directed by the late Alan Clarke, undoubtedly the best director of TV Britain has ever seen (maybe the best British director since Michael Powell). He had already given early breaks to Tim Roth (in Made in Britain) and Gary Oldman (in The Firm - not the Tom Cruise vehicle, but a brutal TV movie about soccer hooliganism). The title comes from the writer Bernard MacLaverty, who said that the Troubles were like having an elephant in your living room. That's what it was like to watch this film.

Reviewed by danieljfenner 9 / 10

Slacker with double barrel shotguns

This short film serves two purposes. It provides a chilling perspective on the anonymity of civil conflict and it offers a meditation on violence in the media. The premise is equally primitive and thought- provoking.

It simply follows around random, casually dressed men (who look like members of The Smiths and Big Country) as they slay other men in dilapidated Belfast settings. The minimal soundtrack of footsteps and gunfire creates a hypnotic and creepy atmosphere. All of the sound and lack thereof is necessary. The closeups of the handguns are necessary, as are the lingering shots of post-mortem bodies. Seconds can feel like minutes. Clarke's attempt to confront the audience forces us to ponder the dehumanization of The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The irony behind the appeal of this film is that for those who wish to watch violent action movies just for the sake of the spectacle of violence will be the most disappointed. That is exactly why this film is so important. It numbs us to violence. The lack of a narrative provides us the question of why we want to see what we are seeing. To turn gratuitous, prolonged violence into something boring becomes a statement on how desensitized a society can become to death and war.

Reviewed by Horst in Translation ([email protected]) 4 / 10

What is going on?

"Elephant" is a 36-minute short film from over 25 years ago. It was one of the last works of director Alan Clarke before he died from cancer. The film's produces is Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire"). Well what can one say about this. It's basically from start to finish men walking around shooting other men, in the streets, in warehouses, in offices etc. We do not find out who the killers are and we don't know who the victims are. There is no real dialog in here, especially the killers are always quiet. There is some irony to it, some black humor for sure when for example one of the murderers plays football with his victim. And he does not kill all of them. So maybe they are contract killers? Then again, some act pretty amateurish for that when they keep pushing bullets in the already dead body. Anyway, you certainly do not have to fear graphic violence and maybe also need a bit of a sadistic touch when you watch this. Strange little short film. All in all, not recommended. It just gets repetitive at some point and should not have crossed the 20-minute mark in my opinion.

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