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Old Favorite: "The Rules of Attraction"

Posting about this movie requires a disclaimer. It's based on a book by the same author who penned American Psycho, one of the most graphically f'ed up novels of all time. The movie opens with a horrible, horrible thing happening to one of the main characters, and then goes back in time to months before so we can see how this horrible, horrible thing came about. The first time I saw the movie, I couldn't get over the beginning. But when I gave it another shot, knowing what was happening right off the bat, I saw the beauty of it.

Like most Bret Eason Ellis plots, this one is centered on a group of narcissists. This time, they're college students, so they kind of have an excuse. Our central characters are Lauren, a naive virgin who's in love with a boyfriend who can't remember her, Paul, her ex who's now more into the dudes, especially Sean, a self proclaimed "emotional vampire" trying to figure out who his secret admirer is, and hoping it's Lauren. Sean also happens to be the brother of American Psycho himself, Patrick Bateman. Throw in great supporting characters who all seem to have coke problems, and you have a dark, dark comedic movie.

The direction is what makes the film- starting at almost the end and then rewinding multiple times, featuring lengthy scenes moving in reverse, snow rising into the sky in the winter, back to sunbathing coeds in the early fall. There's also a split-screen scene showing Lauren and Sean waking up and getting ready for class until they run into each other in the hallway and the shots meld together. And Lauren's forgetful boyfriend Victor's retelling of his European vacation is basically a short, but vapid, film in its own right. It also has a pretty killer soundtrack, in my opinion, including The Cure, Donovan, Yaz, Harry Nilsson, Blondie, and Erasure, among others, and an eerie techno score by tomandandy.

The scene above is one of my favorites as a standalone, in which Paul goes to New York to see his mother and their family friends. Paul is wishing he was back at school with Sean, Dick has already drank a fifth of whiskey, and their mothers have been gulping down vodka and pills for hours. What follows is hilarious.

Again, this movie is graphic and disturbing and not for everyone. But, what can I say, I have odd taste?

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