The Slaughter Rule : Critic Reviews

Metascore (13 reviews)
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Dennis Lim Village Voice
The lead performances could hardly be better: Gosling, having stolen and propped up entire movies last year ("Murder by Numbers" and "The Believer"), crackles with the economical intensity of a young Tim Roth. Morse, who has racked up decades worth of idiosyncratic character parts, is monumental in this career-peak turn.
Stephen Holden The New York Times
A bleak, lyrical meditation on the frontier spirit and American machismo and its torments.
Scott Tobias The A.V. Club
Though some of Slaughter Rule's conclusions are overly tidy, 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.
J.R. Jones Chicago Reader
Actor David Morse establishes himself as a truly formidable presence in this powerful first feature by Alex and Andrew Smith.
David Sterritt Christian Science Monitor
This well-acted melodrama paints a convincing portrait of its Montana milieu, and its best scenes suggest real insights into the paradoxical attitudes toward masculinity and sexuality that American men often feel compelled to assume.
Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News
What it offers are dozens of intimate moments that feel so true, they achieve a rare kind of grace. This sensitive indie drama was written and directed by brothers - and first-time feature filmmakers.
Manohla Dargis Los Angeles Times
Has the virtue of sincerity but not that of restraint. 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.
Megan Lehmann New York Post
A good-looking, if imperfectly plotted, coming-of-age feature -- that doesn't quite manage to sidestep the clichéd sport-as-metaphor-for-life trap.
Hazel-Dawn Dumpert L.A. Weekly
This bleak debut feature from writer-directors Alex and Andrew Smith would be all but impossible to sit through if it weren’t for Ryan Gosling and Clea Duvall.
Joe Leydon Variety
Strong performances, a few dramatically potent scenes and a vividly specific evocation of locale barely offset hackneyed and muddled elements in a script that plays like a first draft.

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