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Rules of Attraction

We all run on instinct. 

Year: 2002 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

From the sick bastards who brought you Pulp Fiction and American Psycho (the hard-as-nails book, not the anodyne movie), Rules of Attraction is the absolute zenith of Generation X movie experiences. A delirious, tricksy, shocking, endless inventive symphony of  perversions, drug taking, suicide and teen antipathy, this is one movie that isn’t easy to forget. It’s also one of the most subversively hilarious films of the year, although it might well make you want to have a long shower afterwards.

The movie charts the misadventures of a succession of youths at a liberal American college, who alternately screw, shoot-up, argue, rape, vomit and screw some more. In the midst of this whirlwind of depravity stands Sean Bateman (Van Der Beek on career-best form), the campus drug dealer, serial sex fiend and all round bad egg.  Seriously, this guy makes his brother Patrick seem like a guy you’d like to have dinner with.

While Bateman is doing his thing, Lauren (Sossamon – excellent) is watching in the wings, wondering if she’s in love, while Paul is coming to terms with his wavering sexuality. Oh, and there’s Vic, who’s just returned from Europe and can’t wait to tell everyone about the fun he had there…

Rules of Attraction is not a film with a definite narrative form. Instead, director Roger Avery delights in depicting the turbulent, brutal and at times heart breaking lives of a group of individuals who have definite social issues.  And he does it with such breathless, audacious style that you can’t help wishing that it was he who directed Pulp Fiction, not his cohort Quentin. Fast forwards, split screens, montage, CGI – Avery uses all the tricks at his disposal to ensure that Rules of Attraction is a film that really hammers its way into your consciousness.

One of the most impressively constructed films of the year, Rules of Attraction takes Bret Easton Ellis’s controversial novel and runs with it, creating an inherently cinematic experience which is one of the most vibrant, disturbing and stimulating films of the year. The easily offended, however, might do well to stay clear – the Americans saw fit to cut down the most uncomfortable sequences as a favour to the public. We’re showing the full, uncut version…

Greg Taylor

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)