As an experiment it’s interesting, but Jean Renoir, who directs, wrote the scenario and dialog, and takes a leading role, has made a common error: he attempts to crowd too many ideas into 80 minutes of film fare, resulting in confusion.
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Like the very greatest artists in all media -- here I go with the meaningless superlatives again -- Renoir was able to transcend his own perspective, his own prejudices, and glimpse something of the terror and wonder of human life, the pain of misapplied or rejected love, for rich as for poor.
Low comedy walks hand and hand with tragedy and beauty throughout; the film is frothy one minute, nearly apocalyptic the next, and so you’re never fully allowed to gather your bearings.
Rules would have been just another good movie if not for its masterly visual design. With it, however, the black-and-white film enters the realm of immortality.
Still ahead of its time.
No other film has a final effect quite like "Rules." One walks away from it drained and exhilarated, after experiencing a whole world and seemingly every possible emotion in a few swift golden hours.
This magical and elusive work, which always seems to place second behind "Citizen Kane" in polls of great films, is so simple and so labyrinthine, so guileless and so angry, so innocent and so dangerous, that you can't simply watch it, you have to absorb it.
Far from muting the satire, Renoir's hearty characterization complicates it and gives it life, which is rare among broadsides at the bourgeoisie.