Director: Gus Van Sant
Year Released: 2003
Contemptible meditation on the Columbine Massacre: Van Sant, instead of trying to investigate the psyches of the deranged teenage killers, doesn't have any answers so he simply establishes the sacrificial lambs (both pathetic and popular - a homely outcast girl and the popular Abercrombie kids) and proceeds to watch them get mowed down (the Nazi footage, the Internet, video games and homosexuality are all cheap stabs at 'rationale' and come across as jokes - he can't possibly take any of them seriously). Harris Savides' remarkably agile and sweeping cinematography has fooled many into thinking it's some ethereal grand statement - a dream, even? - but Van Sant's perspective is loathsome and passive-aggressive (the three girls who eat a quick lunch and then proceed to throw it up is a cheap gag; the late introduction of a silent, curious African American student is also highly suspect) and he's been out of the classroom so long he doesn't seem to know what life in a high school is actually like (everyone basically wanders around the halls aimlessly like it's a university). Allowing the "actors" to improvise their lines is a huge mistake.