Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Location: milwaukee, wi

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Faces of Death: Close-Ups in The Rules of Attraction

When I read about The House Next Door's Close-Up Blog-a-Thon, I knew I had to do one of my favorites. I also knew that I already had a film from my top ten of all time capped and ready to go - The Rules of Attraction, Roger Avary's tragically underrated 2002 adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' debut novel. The story is about a group of young people at a liberal arts college in the 80s, all of whom are effectively dead or killed on the inside.

The film opens on Lauren's face. "'s a story that might bore you, but you don't have to listen, because I always knew it was going to be like that."

Shannyn Sossamon's face in this still is one of the most memorable moments in film ever. Lauren, who has been saving her virginity for the boy of her dreams, is raped while drunk at a party, and thrown up on. She always knew it was going to be like that, you can see it in her eyes.

James van der Beek basically says "Fuck Dawson" as Sean Bateman, Patrick's little brother who is almost as bad. His face bruised from a beating at the hands of his drug dealer, Sean is prowling the End of the World party in search of a freshman girl he can take advantage of.

Rupert Guest, Sean's drug dealer, is a complete nutjob who sticks a gun in Sean's face when we first meet him. This shot is as much a closeup of the gun as it is of Clifton Collins Jr (who would go on to be great in Capote), a portrait of Rupert's amorality and plain old insanity.

Lara, Lauren's roommate who also (presumably) ends up being raped, has leaky pipes and got off the pill because it made her gain weight.

Dick! Dick's scene in the restaurant is the most memorable in the film, and it's worth a rent if only to see him tell off his mom and his mom's friend. "FUCK YOU, PRETTY BOY!" was a catchphrase at school. Dick is actually one of the most likeable characters, though, because even though he's a total asshole, he tells it like it is.

The only actual death in the movie, the girl who had been writing Sean love letters, only he was too blind to see her, made Harry Nilsson's "Without You" a song almost too painful to listen to. The most upsetting suicide in a film, ever - it's made several people I've watched the movie with unable to look at the screen. Not graphic, just immaculately acted and photographed.

Sean thinks he's trying to kill himself, but he's already dead. He's faking death, as he's faking any kind of human life.

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