A fictional take on the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, Gus Van Sant's Elephant is a love-it-or-hate-it film if ever there was one. Even before it was released in the US, American critics were bashing it as being exploitative, wrongheaded, irresponsible, and above all, "too pretty". There are claims that Van Sant's depiction of an ordinary high school looks… read more!
Movies Directed by Gus Van Sant (in alphabetical order)
Possibly the most intentionally slow-moving film starring a top Hollywood actor ever made in America, Gerry marks Gus Van Sant's heralded return to offbeat, independent cinema, with Matt Damon and Casey Affleck his lone stars: two guys named Gerry who go for a hike in the desert, take a wrong turn, and find themselves hopelessly – truly hopelessly – lost.… read more!
Gus Van Sant's fictionalized account of Kurt Cobain's final hours is the third in his series of achingly slow, youth-oriented tragedies, following Gerry and Elephant. As in those previous films, Van Sant once again eschews story in favor of atmosphere. But Last Days lacks the beauty and sadness that made Gerry and especially Elephant so effective. Which is ironic, since… read more!
Gus Van Sant's long-in-development biopic of Harvey Milk, the slain San Francisco supervisor and gay civil rights activist, finally comes to the big screen as a somewhat buttoned-down, mainstream Hollywood movie, showing little of the experimental character of the director's last four features (possibly the most interesting second act in an American filmmaker's career). Sean Penn is perfectly cast as… read more!
Another lovingly-shot tone poem about disaffected youth from Gus Van Sant, Paranoid Park will remind many of the director's earlier, stronger Elephant, though it is even more abstract and less disturbing. The movie follows a teenage skateboarder named Alex (Gabe Nevins, a newcomer like most of the rest of the Portland-based cast), basically a good kid, as he is quietly… read more!