The Rules Of Attraction (Blu-ray)
From writer Brett Easton Ellis who brought us AMERICAN PSYCHO and director Roger Avery who contributed to some of the stories in PULP FICTION comes an extremely stylized film that lacks any sort of substance or soul. You might think dropping quality film names like the two mentioned would mean THE RULES OF ATTRACTION would be phenomenal. On the contrary, it plays out like a pathetic child’s version of the two trying so hard to be shocking and cool that it forgot to provide any type of subject matter or characters worth viewing.
Three students consume themselves in sex and drugs while attending Camden College. Sean Bateman (James Van Der Beek) is a psychotic drug dealer obsessed with sleeping with Lauren Hynde (Shannyn Sossamon), a self-proclaimed virgin who wants her first time to happen soon but with the right person. Paul Denton (Ian Somerhalder) is Lauren’s ex-boyfriend who is now an open homosexual infatuated with Sean. The story introduces many other supporting characters as it weaves in and out of these college students love triangle.
Frankly, I’m not sure the purpose of this film. It doesn’t provide any redeeming qualities. It is neither thought provoking, humorous nor entertaining. Maybe the filmmakers were trying to make a statement about college students only being interested in themselves, drugs and sex but their vision is too one dimensional never expanding on why or if its right or wrong. I’m not saying that stuff doesn’t go on in college but I can assure you that not every student has a self-absorbed serial killer in their brain either.
The character of Sean Bateman is meant to be a psychotic selfish womanizer. Van Der Beek is an interesting casting choice just because of the extreme difference from his popular Dawson’s Creek character at the time. However, his acting choice for the cliché look of evil is having his chin down, peering from the top of his eyes the entire picture. And somehow girls still find him cute. Paul’s character is likewise cold and careless toward other people while Lauren is far from being innocent, as she doesn’t think twice about performing immodest deeds on her married professor played by Eric Stoltz using a confusing Irish accent. The rest of the supporting characters are equally shallow performed by Jessica Biel, Kate Bosworth, Jay Baruchel, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Clifton Collins Jr. and Kip Pardue who has an incredible scene where he fast talks an explanation of his trip to Europe as the visuals are quickly edited to match his story. But that is a perfect example of a cool scene for the sake of being cool. Having no bearing on the film whatsoever, the scene provides a deeper look of another empty character. In fact nearly all the characters come in and have long random scenes without any real significance to the other characters.
The bottom line is THE RULES OF ATTRACTION is atrociously offensive. Not because of the content but because of the lack of content, treating the audience like idiots. The impressive technical style is meaningless when the subject matter is worthless. Playing scenes in reverse or using split screens are interesting filming and editing tactics but come off gimmicky when they don’t serve a purpose to the story. Trash gift-wrapped is still trash. The characters are boring and uninteresting because they are all the same empty vessels that narrate their lives emotionlessly. They act in ways that are absurd and unidentifiable. Their actions make no sense in a film that is just as shallow as its characters. The presumably philosophical message of never knowing someone comes off forced and lame ultimately provoking one ironic resonating thought… I DON’T CARE.
Video: (1080p High Definition 16×9 Widescreen 1.78:1) I would have hoped for a better transfer as the film is not that old but still had grainy scenes.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD MA) The rock soundtrack has some interesting choices and comes through clearly.
Commentary with Carrot Top: Yes, Carrot Top is the advertised “Mystery Guest” on the cover box. It is quite clear he has never seen the film and makes generic unfunny statements like she’s hot or he’s gay. He sorely needed his props.
Revolving Door Audio Commentaries: These are four more unnecessary audio commentaries with each person from each section doing their own commentaries but spliced together through the entirety of the film. The first section consists of Sharon Seymour, Ron Jeremy, Ian Somerhalder and Russel Sams. The second section is Shannyn Sossamon, Theresa Wayman, Kip Pardue and Clifton Collins Jr. The third section is Jeremiah Samuels, Andy Milburn, Thomas Ian Nicholas and Joel Michaely. The fourth section is Robert Brinkmann and Harry Ralson.
Theatrical Trailer (2:01)