Rumble Fish (1983)

(On Cable TV, September 2017) I’m glad I saw Rumble Fish shortly after The Outsiders. Those two movies will forever remain a curio pairing of teenage dramas made back-to-back by writer/director Francis Ford Coppola, with much of the same cast and crew. But while they share themes and settings, they couldn’t be more different in execution, as The Outsiders plays everything straight, while Rumble Fish allows itself fanciful impressionistic segments that truly set it apart from the genre to which it belongs. From splashes of colour in an otherwise black-and-white film, to literate references, a very stylized fight, an out-of-body experience, unnatural skies and a noir aesthetics borrowed from German expressionism. The plot is almost inconsequential to the various moviemaking flourishes, but there’s still a heartfelt brother-to-brother relationship at the heart of it all. All of this being said, I still can’t quite commit to liking the film. On the other hand, I found it far more interesting than The Outsiders, and I’m far more likely to revisit Rumble Fish in a few years than most of the more ordinary films of its period. 

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