Sean Bateman (brother of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho) is a swell womanizing drug dealer who likes to smoke a lot of dope. He’s in love with an ethnic virgin by the name of Lauren who enjoys looking at books full of sexually transmitted diseases. Paul Denton, a suave and stylish homosexual also has his eyes on Sean Bateman. Paul likes Sean because he’s a dirty boy and looks like “he can’t remember whether he’s catholic or not.” Obviously The Rules of Attraction features of variety of other sex scenes that aren’t exactly to the liking of the main characters.
Kevin Arnold from The Wonder Years almost makes an appearance in The Rules of Attraction as a college student shooting heroin in between his toes in his underwear. Mr. Arnold is watching Robert Wiene’s German expressionist masterpiece The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari during his trip to opium heaven. The Rules of Attraction director Roger Avary also showed tribute to F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu in Killing Zoe. Avary’s love for German expressionism hardly shows up in his actual filmmaking techniques.
The Rules of Attraction features a variety of experimental editing techniques which range from innovative to failing. Either way, I much preferred the editing in The Rules of Attraction to most of the Soviet Montage ADHD style editing too prevalent in contemporary films. A lot of the editing also works well as a tool that interacts with the “connections” between the individuals in the story. I especially liked the editing sequences of the shy girl who decides to end her life early. These editing montages recap her earlier appearances in the film which are easy to miss the first time around.
The Rules of Attraction is a fairly conventional yet quality film. I find myself coming back to it a couple times a year. I once told a cheerleader that I liked the film and she told me it was depressing. It is about time someone made a serious college film and surprisingly Roger Avary was the man to do it. Finally, a college film that acknowledges all of the rape that happens on campus.