The Slaughter Rule
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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 beating when he's cut from the high school football team shortly afterward. Roy… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"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."
‑ Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine/Vulture
"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."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"The writing and directing team of twin brothers Alex and Andrew Smith have made an astonishingly good first feature."
‑ Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
"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."
‑ Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com
"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."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"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."
‑ Joe Leydon, Variety
"Writer-directors Andrew and Alex Smith go for emotional truth, but what they come up with is often silly."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"[Gosling] once again shows how magnetic he can be in challenging roles."
‑ , Total Film
"Best movie I saw in 2002. Features a terrifyingly real performance by David Morse."
‑ Joshua Tanzer, Offoffoff
"A keen and compassionate drama."
‑ Evan Henerson, Los Angeles Daily News
"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."
‑ Scott Tobias, AV Club
"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."
‑ Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times
"Gosling and Morse give strong performances in this bitter pill movie."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"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."
‑ James Rocchi, Netflix
"Clear, cold and yet uniquely sensitive, The Slaughter Rule isn't a by-the-book flick, but that's what makes it so good."
‑ , E! Online
More reviews for The Slaughter Rule on Rotten Tomatoes