The Slaughter Rule (2002)



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

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 … More

Rating: R (adult situations/language)
Genre: Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Alex Smith, Andrew J. Smith
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 17, 2003
Cowboy Pictures - Official Site


as Roy Chutney

as Gideon Ferguson

as Skyla

as Tracey Two Dogs

as Evangeline

as Studebaker

as Doreen

as Russ Colfax

as Waylon Walks Along

as Gretchen Two Dogs

as Uncle Peyton

as Coach Motlow

as Charlie

as Forfeit Referee

as Slick Higgins

as Nelson Chutney

as Jolene Chutney

as Football Announcer

as Keno Lady

as Male Nurse

as Renegade

as Renegade

as Renegade

as Renegade

as Renegade

as Renegade

as Renegade
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Slaughter Rule

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Critic Reviews for The Slaughter Rule

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (11)

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.

Full Review… | February 16, 2011
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top 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.

Full Review… | February 16, 2011
Top 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.

Full Review… | February 16, 2011
AV Club
Top 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.

Full Review… | February 16, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 7, 2003
San Francisco Chronicle
Top 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.

Full Review… | January 23, 2003
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

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]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Ryan Gosling and David Morse give terrific performances; I was very impressed by both of them actually. Features a young Amy Adams in a minuscule role.

I only watched it because it was filmed at my highschool, and my friend is one of the twins on the football team.

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