Here we go again with the feels. The Rules of Attraction hit me just as I entered my second year of university and further fueled my disassociation with the usual social structures. Actually, I got that wrong, it showed me the true structure, intentionally hidden by official system of values and many other things. Plus, I developed this huge crush on Shannyn Sossamon, kept dreaming about her and if I saw a girl with similar haircut or looks, I would just freeze. Enough about that, lets see what we got here. Directed and written by Roger Avary, who was awarded the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay at the 67th Academy Awards for his work on Pulp Fiction, Rules of Attraction is a deeply subversive and exquisite cinematic experience. It is based on the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho). I would compare to all those coming-of-age movies like Dazed and Confused, but it’s way too dark and emotional for such a comparison. Marketed as a teen comedy, although Avery called it “the assassination of teen comedies.”, it managed to pull off quite a profit on its humble $4 million budget (Box office $11,8 million). This is a comedy, but a dark comedy with twisted sense of humor and some quite serious discussions about the life of an average student (or a young man/woman). There’s a lot of drinking, doing drugs and sexual adventures, but they are all portrayed in a somewhat different light than we are used to.
With impeccable writing and magnificent acting, the characters were the driving force of this movie. They were very realistic and I think that many of you will recognize some of the behavior exhibited here. We all make mistakes and learn from them, but it’s much better to learn from someone else’s mistakes than your own. Shot in 2002, it warned of the coming decline of values that has been happening since the eighties, but reached its apex in the new century.
Another thing that I loved about this movie is the cinematography and editing. Using the flexible timeline and going back and forth, Avery may have gone a bit style over substance. Luckily, the substance is abundant in this movie. It’s about lives of several students fictional Camden College in New Hampshire. Shallow, selfish and on the lookout for the next thrill, their lives are a blur of strong emotions and physical stimuli. The Rules of Attraction has this magic feeling that takes you back to college if you are a little older, or it intrigues you if you are a little younger.
Director: Roger Avary
Cast: James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, Jessica Biel, Kip Pardue, Kate Bosworth, Faye Dunaway
Fun Facts: Filmed at the University of Redlands in Southern California. The crew added fake snow for the winter shots. They filmed three different dorms: Bekins, Grossmont, and Fairmont. Each dorm was given a different name in the film. In the opening credits, the students all run out of two huge double doors as if they just left class. In reality, the double doors are those of the Chapel.