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The Slaughter Rule (2002)

Cast: Ryan Gosling, David Morse, Clea DuVall, more...
Director: Andrew J. Smith, Alex Smith
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Showtime Entertainment
Genre: Drama, Independent, Sports Drama, Coming of Age , Sports, Sports Drama
Running Time: 116 min.
Languages: English
    see additional details...

This title is currently out of print.

A teenager at a personal crossroads finds himself questioning the things that have given his life meaning in this independent coming-of-age drama. Roy Chutney (Ryan Gosling) is a high school senior in a small Montana town. Roy doesn't have an especially close relationship with his mother Evangelline (Kelly Lynch), and he hasn't seen his father in years. That doesn't prevent Roy from feeling emotionally devastated when he learns that his father has killed himself, and Roy's self-esteem takes a beating when he's cut from the high school football team shortly afterward. Roy wiles away his time swilling beer with his best friend, Tracy Two Dogs (Eddie Spears), and falling into a romance with Skyla (Clea Duvall), a barmaid at a local tavern, but it seems Roy's short time on the high school gridiron impressed Gideon Ferguson (David Morse), a local character who coaches a semi-pro six-man football team when he isn't delivering newspapers or trying to score a gig singing country songs at nearby honky-tonks. Gid thinks Roy has potential, and asks him to join his team; encouraged by Gid's belief in him, Roy agrees, and he persuades Tracy to tag along. While playing hardscrabble six-man football helps restore Roy's self-confidence, he finds it doesn't answer his questions about his future or his relationship with Skyla, and when Gid's overwhelming interest in Roy begins to lend credence to the rumors that Gid is gay, Roy starts to wonder just why he was asked to join the team. Jay Farrar, founder of the acclaimed alternative country bands Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt, composed the film's musical score. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Amongst Male Compassion by wdrazo March 16, 2003 - 12:33 AM PST
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Love is difficult no matter what relationships are binded together. However, male bonding can be the most difficult and fraught with anxiety. To find love among men means weakness in parts of our society. "The Slaughter Rule" converges on that dilemma within an archetypal framework of male sports.

Superb casting is generated in the chemistry between the mature teenager Roy Chutney (Ryan Gosling) and adolescent adult Gideon Ferguson (David Morse), who wrangle on the dangerous edge of pederasty. Not finding true love with women, Gid searches and grasps for intimacy the only way he has known: football. Roy subconsciously searches for the father he never really had, getting a little more than he bargained for in return.

In bleak blizzard landscapes and amid hard scrabble lives, the Smith brothers and their camera freeze on the action, whether on the playing fields or the local restaurant or honky tonk. Beautifully photographed in Montana and containing wonderfully written dialogue, one feels they have known the characters for a long, long time. They embody flesh, blood, bones, brains, guts, heart, and love.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.75)
28 Votes
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Sundance Institute's Feature Film Program
"The Institute created the program in 1981 to support next-generation filmmakers, and has at its core the Screenwriting and Filmmaking Laboratories." (Films released on DVD as of May 28, 2004; presumably in order of lab attendance.)

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