The Rules of Attraction

The Rules of Attraction

Film Review
The Rules of Attraction
By Deborah-Jean Kantor

There's something familiar about being filmed by a NYU student who thinks you look like Clara Bow and being woken up by a perfect stranger who's taking you from behind and for the encore throws up all over you.


Familiar? What am I talking about?

Remember that naughty flick Pulp Fiction?

Rules of Attraction was co-written and directed by the same guy; only Roger Avary could write something this disturbing and make it into an art work.

The characters take any drug they can get their hands on, have sex with anyone willing and spend most of their time oohing and ahhing over the ones they can't have. Vomit-girl is Lauren, (Shannon Sossamon, from 40 days and 40 nights) a college student and a virgin who's waiting for Mr. Right; Victor, (Kip Pardue) a backstreet boy look a like who's been on a screw-fest through Europe and doesn't even know Lauren exists.

James Van Der Beek, (Dawson from Dawson's creek) plays Sean Bateman a cool version of Bill Pullman from Lost Highway, who sells an assortment of drugs to stay in college. Sean is infatuated with Lauren's virgin innocence and falls in love with her-but Lauren's in love with Victor...

Then who's in love with Sean?

Pretty Paul, (Ian Somwehalder) is a lonely gay guy who clings himself to the idea of him and Sean being together.

It's a topsy turvey love triangle with too many third wheels.

The thing that impressed me is not so much the story line-because I am a firm believer that once you have seen one college flick-you've seen them all!

It was the direction that won me over, I was spun with the loads of visual tricks Roger Avary was able to do. He created a lead up sequence for the meeting of Lauren and Sean in a split-screen and unites the screen together as the two characters become better acquainted. He takes a few tricks from pulp fiction by reversing the film to take up a story form all different character's point if view, but still keeps them connected.

The scenes are intensely uncomfortable but without Avary directing this film it's sure to have some sort of floppiness qualities about it. Particularly in James Van Der Beek's favour, it brings him out as a terrific actor and it's complimenting to see him in such a fresh role.

We're not surprised anymore that young people take drugs, have frequent sex, so the story line didn't really do it for me. It was more the techniques in direction.

The Rules of Attraction is just another swooney teen flick-with a harder edge. If you want to see the movie, see it for the scenes and the camera tricks-it's not slumber party material.

Extra bits:

How is the direction of the rules of attraction similar to Lost Highway?

- The long and winding road conveying Sean's confusion is a mimic of the introduction of Lost Highway.

- The half shots of Sean's head as he is in thought, shows the intensity of the pose, this is displayed in character Balthazar Ghetty from Lost Highway.