Reality Bites

Roger Avary pulls no punches in The Rules of Attraction

by empire |
Published on

It's entirely possible that you'll never see a more dysfunctional, twisted and downright bizarre look at college life and love than in Roger Avary's adaptation of Brett Easton Ellis' The Rules of Attraction. A story where none of the characters is exactly likeable may not seem like a good place to begin a movie but, according to Avary, it is just this refreshing dose of reality and lack of ersatz characterisation that makes the film such a success. "They're characters at conflict with themselves which, to me, is a much more important and likeable quality than somebody who is just a good guy," he told us at the LFF gala screening of his film, on Saturday. "I actually find the movie to be, not only a highly moral experience, but also a movie, which contains a number of basically good characters trying to survive in a corrupt world and trying to make a connection in a society that has little connectivity." Students at a New England arts College, Sean Bateman (yes, brother to American Psycho's Patrick) has a thing for the lovely Lauren. However, Lauren is saving herself for Victor. Paul, on the other hand, is experimenting with his sexuality and rather likes Sean. Hailed as an anti-romantic comedy, the film substitutes the traditional boy-meets-girl clich with the harsh reality that, as often as not, when two hearts collide it all ends in tears. Employing a variety of cinematic tricks and a disorientating non-sequential narrative, the film does its utmost to stay true to Easton Ellis' unique written style. "It's not an easy book to adapt. It took me a good 13 years of thinking about the book before realising the appropriate way to convert Brett's incredibly complicated literary devices into cinematic devices that would deliver an experience that felt like reading a Brett Easton Ellis novel. When people have made movies of his books in the past, they've extracted the literary devices and just told very straight stories and I think that's a big mistake. The themes and spirit of his writing and the structure are so intimately connected that to remove the literary devices is to remove part of the theme."

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