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The Slaughter Rule is an independent film, released in 2002 and starring Ryan Gosling and David Morse. The movie, set in contemporary Montanamarker, explores the relationship between a small-town high school football player (Gosling), and his troubled coach (Morse). The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.

Plot

A teenager at a personal crossroads finds himself questioning the things that have given his life meaning in this independent coming-of-age drama. Roy Chutney (Ryan Gosling) is a high school senior in a small Montana town. Roy does not have an especially close relationship with his mother Evangelline (Kelly Lynch), and he has not seen his father in years. That does not prevent Roy from feeling emotionally devastated when he learns that his father has killed himself, and Roy's self-esteem takes a beating when he is cut from the high school football team shortly afterward. Roy wiles away his time swilling beer with his best friend, Tracy Two Dogs (Eddie Spears), and falling into a romance with Skyla (Clea Duvall), a barmaid at a local tavern, but it seems Roy's short time on the high school gridiron impressed Gideon Ferguson (David Morse), a local character who coaches a semi-pro six-man football team when he is not delivering newspapers or trying to score a gig singing country songs at nearby honky-tonks. Gid thinks Roy has potential, and asks him to join his team; encouraged by Gid's belief in him, Roy agrees, and he persuades Tracy to tag along. While playing hardscrabble six-man football helps restore Roy's self-confidence, he finds it does not answer his questions about his future or his relationship with Skyla, and when Gid's overwhelming interest in Roy begins to lend credence to the rumors that Gid is gay, Roy starts to wonder just why he was asked to join the team.

Production

Jay Farrar, founder of the acclaimed alternative country bands Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt, composed the film's musical score.

Filming for the movie largely took place in Great Falls, Montanamarker and a series of small towns in the Great Falls vicinity.

The title of the film comes from the term "slaughter rule", sometimes also called "mercy rule", where an athletic competition is prematurely ended when one team is ahead of the other by a certain number of points prior to game's end, so as to avoid the losing team being further humiliated by the winning team. An example is the 45-point rule used in six-man football competition in Texas.

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