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The Slaughter Rule (2002)



Average Rating: 5.9/10
Reviews Counted: 30
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 8

A bleak but original indie, The Slaughter Rule benefits from outstanding performances by Ryan Gosling and David Morse.


Average Rating: 5.2/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 3

A bleak but original indie, The Slaughter Rule benefits from outstanding performances by Ryan Gosling and David Morse.



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Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 897

My Rating

Movie Info

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




Andrew J. Smith, Alex Smith

Feb 17, 2003

Cowboy Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (8) | DVD (3)

Having made his name as a ferocious, self-hating Jewish skinhead in The Believer, 22-year-old Ryan Gosling gives another memorable performance as a lonely, world-hating fatherless quarterback in The Slaughter Rule.

February 16, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As compellingly played by Morse, a great actor who gives pic more than it gives him, Gideon comes off as a sensitive soul who knows how risky it can be to appear too sensitive in a small town.

February 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film's powerful meditation on masculinity gets much of its credibility and punch from the two leads, especially Morse, a reliable character actor who sinks his teeth into a role with heavy physical and psychological demands.

February 16, 2011 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

David Morse, who's spent the last 20 years kicking around network television and building up an resume of impressive movie credits, establishes himself as a truly formidable presence in this powerful first feature by Alex and Andrew Smith.

February 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Writer-directors Andrew and Alex Smith go for emotional truth, but what they come up with is often silly.

February 7, 2003 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unlike Terrence Malick, whose shadow looms over the film's visual style, the Smiths over-explain, not grasping that all those barren fields and blood-red clouds are doing plenty of work for them.

January 23, 2003 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The writing and directing team of twin brothers Alex and Andrew Smith have made an astonishingly good first feature.

February 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

[Gosling] once again shows how magnetic he can be in challenging roles.

February 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Gosling and Morse give strong performances in this bitter pill movie.

October 10, 2005

Everyone's got demons to deal with -- from Gideon's guilt over a kid that played for him and died under mysterious circumstances to the audience's unwillingness to sit through two hours of yet another inspirational football movie.

January 11, 2004 Full Review Source:

Best movie I saw in 2002. Features a terrifyingly real performance by David Morse.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Offoffoff

Montana's wide-open spaces -- and the closed hearts of the people who live there -- make for a sincere, superbly acted story of loss and need.

February 11, 2003 Full Review Source: Netflix

A timid template of an indie movie that glides through all the proper turns, sticks up all the appropriate signposts, and never once takes a demanding or truthful step.

February 7, 2003 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A keen and compassionate drama.

January 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Daily News

Clear, cold and yet uniquely sensitive, The Slaughter Rule isn't a by-the-book flick, but that's what makes it so good.

January 24, 2003 Full Review Source: E! Online
E! Online

The movie has a richness that blows away most first features, not to mention most sports movies.

January 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Citysearch

Beautiful in its stark way.

January 12, 2003 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

The film's real strength lies in two excellent performances, from veteran Morse and up-and-comer Gosling.

January 12, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

First-time filmmakers Andrew and Alex Smith have a potentially intriguing and very different tale, but they consistently shoot themselves in the foot with their amateurishly self-conscious direction.

January 11, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Audience Reviews for The Slaughter Rule

[font=Century Gothic]In "The Slaughter Rule", Roy(Ryan Gosling) is not having the best of weeks - his father is killed, then he is cut from his high school football team, apparently for not being angry enough. A coach of an independent six-man football team, Gideon(David Morse) recruits him to his team. There are local whispers as to whether Gideon's interest in Roy is purely professional...while Roy catches the eye of an attractive waitress, Skyla(Clea Duvall).[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"The Slaughter Rule" is a deliberately paced movie that takes full advantage of its unique setting in rural Montana. The beautiful scenery contrasts wonderfully with the hardscrabble lives of the characters. I thought it did a very realistic job of portraying small town life especially for the teenagers. I wish it had made more of a statement concerning masculinity, though. The performances are fine, especially David Morse who finally gets to play a character he can sink his teeth into.[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]Note: On Saturday, I saw "Dallas 362" where Kelly Lynch plays a widowed mother. In "The Slaughter Rule", she plays a character who is officially divorced when her ex-husband is killed. Is this a trend or am I really having one of those weeks?[/font]
June 29, 2005
Walter M.

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