I just finished watching this movie and I am struck by how quickly I forgot how the world looks when you are a teenager. The movie was excruciatingly slow to start. Instead of formulaic pacing, this film forced us to move at its pace, where we were committed to each long slow camera pan or walk through with the characters. As I have grown up the scope of my life has been ever widening. It stands to reason then that during my younger years I barely conceived of life outside of what I knew, or where I was able to walk. This is what stands out to me about Elephant. When events like this take place, we immediately contextualize them and are unable to look at it from the level of those involved. What Gus VanSant does is bring us very close to the story. I don't see that he attempted to answer many questions, or to portray any specific characters in any light, but he attempts to bring the audience inside such a situation. To the villains in this film there is no deep reasoning, and no evil justification. Aside from revenge over minor school harassment they want to play a more realistic video game. They have created their own reality and carry out their deeds inside of it. This film was made without exploiting the memory of those who have actually been involved in such an event. Since it has been 5 years since these events took place, I am surprised to see a fresh look at this subject matter. What is especially heartbreaking about these tragedies is that when there is no meaning and just random violence there is nothing we can learn by investigating it. The irony of course is that I got this message from viewing a movie that explores this subject matter. I think the movie tells us we can only move on after senseless tragedy, and not solve the problems that caused them. When there is nothing behind the eyes of the people carrying this out, there is no great value in making sense of their actions. It is human nature to do so, and you would think that logically there would be theories, conclusions, etc about the causes. However we would gain much more by focusing on the people who were the victims, and learning about them. In this way they may make a positive mark on us.