The Slaughter Rule Reviews

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Marjorie Baumgarten
Austin Chronicle
February 16, 2011
The writing and directing team of twin brothers Alex and Andrew Smith have made an astonishingly good first feature.
Top Critic
Bilge Ebiri
New York Magazine/Vulture
February 16, 2011
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.

Total Film
February 16, 2011
[Gosling] once again shows how magnetic he can be in challenging roles.
Top Critic
Joe Leydon
Variety
February 16, 2011
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.
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
February 16, 2011
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.
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
February 16, 2011
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.
Cole Smithey
ColeSmithey.com
October 10, 2005
Gosling and Morse give strong performances in this bitter pill movie.
| Original Score: 3/5
Christopher Null
Filmcritic.com
January 11, 2004
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Joshua Tanzer
Offoffoff
March 10, 2003
Best movie I saw in 2002. Features a terrifyingly real performance by David Morse.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
James Rocchi
Netflix
February 11, 2003
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
February 7, 2003
Writer-directors Andrew and Alex Smith go for emotional truth, but what they come up with is often silly.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid
February 7, 2003
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Evan Henerson
Los Angeles Daily News
January 24, 2003
A keen and compassionate drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4

E! Online
January 24, 2003
Clear, cold and yet uniquely sensitive, The Slaughter Rule isn't a by-the-book flick, but that's what makes it so good.
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
Los Angeles Times
January 23, 2003
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 | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Hazel-Dawn Dumpert
L.A. Weekly
January 23, 2003
None of the characters' troubled histories or transformations are as compelling as Gosling and Duvall's unforced emotional complexity would promise or merit.
Justin Hartung
Citysearch
January 16, 2003
The movie has a richness that blows away most first features, not to mention most sports movies.
Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
Donald J. Levit
ReelTalk Movie Reviews
January 12, 2003
Beautiful in its stark way.
Ken Fox
TV Guide's Movie Guide
January 12, 2003
The film's real strength lies in two excellent performances, from veteran Morse and up-and-comer Gosling.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
David Noh
Film Journal International
January 11, 2003
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.
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