Sunday, April 28, 2013

Film: Rumble Fish

Rumble Fish was on my list of "films I'm embarassed not have seen" until very recently. It was made back in the era when Francis Ford Coppola was still making amazing movies and it firmly belongs in this bracket.
Matt Dillon plays Rusty James, a rebel gang member who needs to be sourrounded by people all the time and harks back to a supposed golden age of gangs when his brother the Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke) ruled the roost. Rusty James doesn't just look up to his older brother, he idolises him by creating a warped sense of the past. However, the Motorcycle Boy, seen as a prince of the old gangs to be followed wherever he may go, is seeking to escape this part he has created for himself.

Dillon plays his role well but Rourke dominates and this is how it was meant to be. Rourke nailed a role which required finely balanced and intense acting, otherwise the film would have been destroyed. Denis Hopper is also brilliant as the constantly drunk father figure. Shot in clear black and white, the cinematography is beautiful. The musical score is also spot on, adding an existential tone and creating a sense of rapidly passing time, building up to a fateful ending.

I can see why the movie was panned by quite a few critics. Rumble Fish was released around the same time as The Outsiders, a much more commerical vehicle similarly tackling gang violence. Also, unless you have a feel for the type of film who are about to watch , the hyper-real aspects, dream-like sequences, and strong existential slant, will all serve to throw you off. Expect this and you are in for a rare treat.



Father:  "Your mother is not crazy. Neither, contrary to popular belief, is your brother. He is merely miscast in a play. He would have made the perfect knight in a different century, or a very good pagan prince in a time of heroes. He was born in the wrong era, on the wrong side of the river, with the ability to do anything and finding nothing he wants to do."

Motorcycle Boy: If you're going to lead people, you have to have somewhere to go.

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