2002’s ‘Rule of Attraction’ – Hard to Watch, Unforgettable

For hopeful, enthusiastic high school graduates heading to college, I can’t think of a worse movie to watch than Roger Avery’s “Rule of Attraction” (2002).

It boasts films like Lindsay Anderson’s “If…” (1968) and John Singleton’s “Higher Education” (1995) as other examples of incredible films, made about experience University education.

Avery’s totally anti-mainstream, all-star and dramatic adaptation of 1987 novel by Bret Easton Ellis is the nightmare prospect of being a college insider with exactly the kind of mob your parents warned you about.

As a cinema, there’s a lot to see but for the average audience, it’s often difficult to see.

It begins in the middle of a sentence, with lightning-fast editing that quickly brings us to the proper and bohemian The End of the World Party. Separately, Lauren (Shannyn Sossamon) narrates and recalls the horrifying incident, in which “I got so drunk, I ended up losing my virginity.”

The young man who victimized her initially spoke softly about a Tarantino movie (Avery was the Oscar-winning co-writer of Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction”).

The narrations belong to Lauren, but you can also hear the author of the film, as Ellis combines pop-culture references, fleeting attention to mundane detail, wordy verse. banal has color and shocking details throughout, reminding you of both his prose and screen narrative “American Psycho” (2000).

We meet these characters, all of whom are students of an unnamed university. Events happen, then rewind so we can observe the central characters in the party.

James Van Der Beeks’ Sean is fascinated by the mysterious woman who writes him love letters. Lara, played by Jessica Biehl, drinks a lot of cocaine and pretty much anything else she wants. Ian Somerhalder’s Paul has a crush on Sean, who couldn’t be less caring.

Kip Pardue’s Victor is back from a wild vacation and Kate Bosworth (who looks like one of the Lisbon sisters) is an easy mark for Sean. There’s no plot, just a series of events that happen mostly during campus parties, ranging from out of control to proud.

The initial revelation that a scene was playing in reverse made me think during my first viewing in the cinema that there was a problem with the projector. In fact, many of the scenes after that are reversed. There’s also clever use of split-screen, multiple perspectives conveyed through remarkable editing, and top notch soundtracks (Erasure and Love and Rockets in the same movie!).

Avery’s film is dramatic but made with genuine fortitude and De Palma-esque innovation. The opening rape scene may have dark comic connotations (note the line about being disappointed her assailant is a dog), but the candor of the scene, in the setting, and on-screen commentary image, making this impossible.

The question this raises before even the opening credits end not sharing is how concerned people are with the horrible humans at a party where a rape, beating beating homosexuality and other corrupting things.

All of this happens exactly in the first 15 minutes, before the title comes out. By this point, you’re numb to the depravity and ready to begin or wonder if the trail of wit and visual effects suggests it will get better.

It lights up after opening, though it always has a raw, vicious moment waiting around.

The “Rule of Attraction” is sometimes too blinding, no wonder young film students and film enthusiasts have fallen in love with it. I guess you could call it a hit movie, though good luck trying to convert anyone who sees it for the first time.

It has interesting connections to other Ellis adaptations – Van Der Beek notes that he pretends to be a vampire, a factual spin-off that was present in the Ellis adaptation of “The Informers” (2008), featuring Brandon Routh as a bloodsucker.

Van Der Beek’s Sean Bateman is related to “American Psycho”‘s Patrick Bateman, although the scene of a phone call between the two brothers (with Patrick played by Caspar Van Dien here) is said to have been filmed but remains a scene. deleted unseen. on legendary status.

RELATED: Why ‘American Psycho’ Doesn’t Want Our Love Or Pity

Is this a cautionary tale against the kind of flaw romanticized in “The Social Network” (2010) or a cinematic comfort for survivors of a terrifying time in college? learn? An early scene shows an empty classroom with this message on a blackboard: “My Wife Leaves Me For My TA, All Classes This Term Are Canceled.”

Apparently the adults here are as unstable and messy in their personal lives as their students (note Eric Stoltz’s turn as a “connoisseur” professor).

The cast is an enticing selection of TV actors starring in the film or veterans appearing for a few minutes with impressive looks. We get a weird cameo from Fred Savage, where he sticks a burned cigarette into his navel and plays the clarinet after injecting heroin into his toe.

Paul Williams appears as a satirical ER doctor, while Faye Dunaway and Swoosie Kurtz appear as unbearably rich drunks and Russell Sams as Paul’s friend Richard, having a few minutes on screen but try to steal completely every second he gives.

Performances and scenes by Clifton Collins Jr. too much focus on Tarantino territory and the Alfred Molina part of “Boogie Nights”.

Avery is bringing us very close to these gruesome moments and, even though the cast is mostly filled with attractive actors, we don’t want to get this intimate, let alone close-up. closely, with any of them.

Imagine if the characters played by Tom Hulce and Karen Allen in “National Lampoon’s Animal House” or any of the characters in “American Pie” were not loved from afar but were self-destructive, self-destructive, resentful, resentful. less processing and really sad.

The standout moments are unforgettable, like a perfectly matched great split screen shot and Sean’s inability to sense anything culminating in a drop of snow to fill a teardrop. There’s a hilarious moment when we hear Sean’s inner monologue, full of frenzied, trivial thoughts about sex, while Paul’s thoughts are all purple prose.

There is also an amazing twist, where segregation, mishearing, blocked connections, and displayed ignorance stop as we witness a student being dropped. fell (by Sean and us) to suicide.

We observe a tragedy that only one person seems to notice or acknowledge in the coming days. It was the most painful scene, for this sad incident ended like the rest of the debauchery.

Avery felt clearly for these students, even if they were all too numb to fully document the horror they inflicted on themselves and others. The horrifying, ritual suicide that follows contrasts Sean’s irrational, impulsive attempt to take charge of his own life.

Just when it seems like the movie can’t hold us any longer, comes the real tour: a series of four-minute, accelerated flash sequences depicting a wild vacation; it’s a very Bateman-esque jumbo monologue, presented with quick edits.

This installment, which has incredible cinematography and is often hilarious, is supposed to be a glimpse into an actual feature-length film Avery has made, called “Glitteratti” (2004), which resembles the Patrick scene. Bateman was cut, never seen publicly.

It’s a bit short to say that Van Der Beeks’ film career has been ruined… except, it’s kind of like that.

FAST TRUTH: “Rule of Attraction” sinks at the box office, makes money only 2.5 million dollars in its first weekend on the way to a state tally $6.5 million.

After “Dawson’s Creek” (1998-2003), the actor was very popular and his first solo film, “Varsity Blues” (1999) was a huge success. Some might blame the same great response to the non-starter movie “Texas Rangers” (2001), but here the cast is the complete opposite of kind, strongly alienating the body. His fan base and becoming an actor by playing the role of a monster in a sea of ​​damned floods, Van Der Beek is first rate and unsatisfactory.

He also never starred in a movie again and maybe that’s because he hit his own male lead with this one. Van Der Beek had to know that his film career could be damaged by a movie in which he happily masturbated (just barely) in front of the camera “Happy Afternoon”.

Among the actors whose careers took off after this movie opened, co-stars Biel, Bosworth and Jay Baruchel seemed to have escaped the film’s negative reaction from critics and apathy from audiences. fake.

RELATED: Why ‘American Psycho’ Suddenly Becomes a Very Important Movie

Lionsgate, possibly knowing they were sitting on a movie with few commercial opportunities, further pushed back the release date, selling it in September and marketing it with pioneering trailers and some posters. ugliest movie in memory.

Are we meeting these central characters during the worst period of their lives? After all, if the head of Biel’s coke will eventually (perhaps) act together and, as the narrative tells us, become the wife of a politician, not all of them will have the same fate. Redemption and regeneration coming?

Maybe, but maybe not.

In the final scene, the two most empathetic people who survived the onslaught of physical and emotional abuse find solace in each other. At the beginning, the movie ends in the middle of a sentence. Among the last lines of the dialogue is the sombre but honest declaration of intimacy between the barbarians: “No one will know anyone.”

“The Rules of Attraction” was brave enough to be the exact movie we didn’t get with the badly criticized Ellis adaptation, “Less Than Zero” (1987). It is fearless and could care less if it alienated every member of its audience. It’s no fun getting into the film’s toxic inner circle, even if acting and directing are always impressive and take risks.

There are tour de force moments and performances, as well as a great soundtrack and dark humour. Unlike Mary Herron’s “American Psycho” (2000), which mocks the protagonist’s relentless, punishing masculinity, and his environment, “Rule of Attraction” was probably written by Patrick Bateman himself.

Whether all this unflinching barbarity is public or merely exploitative is up to you. The ending scene seems to pull it all together, as it’s actually the first scene, reversed so we get a perspective of a truly rotten semester in an uncontrolled, degrading environment.

Film students will and should take note. For a college freshman, if you can accept it, here’s 100 minutes of all you want to avoid during your first year…and every year after.

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