More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 10%
Worth A Look45%
Average: 30%
Pretty Bad: 10%
Total Crap: 5%

2 reviews, 8 user ratings

Latest Reviews

We're All Going to the World's Fair by Jay Seaver

Holler by Jay Seaver

Reckoning in Boston, A by Jay Seaver

Dog Who Wouldn't Be Quiet, The by Jay Seaver

Here Alone by Erik Childress

Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) by Jay Seaver

Cliff Walkers by Jay Seaver

Wrath of Man by alejandroariera

Home Sweet Home by Jay Seaver

Dynasty by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Slaughter Rule, The
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Stephen Groenewegen

"Male bonding"
4 stars

The Slaughter Rule came out of the Sundance lab and is the striking debut of twin brother writer-directors Alex and Andrew Smith.

Set in wintry Montana, it follows Roy Chutney (Ryan Gosling) who’s recently finished school and been dropped from the football team. Almost immediately, Gideon (David Morse) inveigles him into joining the local six-man gridiron side. Gideon wants Roy to be the star quarterback and boasts that six-man football is the tougher, manlier variant of the game.

Gideon wants to be Roy’s coach, father figure and buddy. Their relationship is at the heart of The Slaughter Rule (the title is a literal reference to the game, but also to Roy’s learning to accept responsibility for the fate of others). At times, it echoes the equally fascinating and complex interaction between gay director Jimmy Whale and his straight gardener, Clay Boone, in Gods and Monsters. Gideon doesn’t regard himself as gay by any means, but he has no interest in women. Male bonding and manly affection and camaraderie satisfy his emotional needs. The directors, to their credit, aren’t interested in exploring what Gideon is, but who.

The Slaughter Rule, shot using a wide-screen process, looks terrific. It’s a very assured and accomplished first film. Gosling and Morse are superb, and there are also excellent supporting performances, including Clea DuVall as Roy’s girlfriend.

My chief reservation concerns the ending, which diminishes Gideon to an unambiguously pathetic figure. But an earlier confrontation scene in Gideon’s room, which forms the film’s emotional climax, is a knockout and boasts some of the best acting likely to be seen on screen this year.

(The fifth in a series of six short takes on the 2002 Sydney Film Festival - see also The Inside Story, Nobody Someday, Lovely & Amazing, Making Venus and Lost in La Mancha)

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 07/05/02 16:28:42
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2002 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2002 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/30/07 chazyoo-1 great quality and actors, never expected such a complicated well done film 5 stars
7/29/03 mmmedium confusing editing, terrible character development.....morse plays a fantastic part, however 2 stars
4/02/03 me great 5 stars
3/25/03 Chris flawed but extremely moving film 4 stars
3/18/03 HE good 4 stars
2/16/03 scott good 4 stars
11/19/02 Freaky-7 Very hard to sit through. 1 stars
8/24/02 Sarah Daluka Not worth it. Only good actor - Clea Duvall 2 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum




Directed by
  Alex Smith
  Andrew J. Smith

Written by
  Alex Smith
  Andrew J. Smith

  Ryan Gosling
  David Morse
  Clea DuVall
  Eddie Spears
  Kelly Lynch
  David Cale

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast