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A sergeant must deal with his desires to save the lives of young soldiers being sent to Vietnam. Continuously denied the chance to teach the soldiers about his experiences, he settles for trying to help the son of an old army buddy.
Francis Ford Coppola
James Earl Jones
Rusty James is the leader of a small, dying gang in an industrial town. He lives in the shadow of the memory of his absent, older brother -- The Motorcycle Boy. His mother has left, his father drinks, school has no meaning for him and his relationships are shallow. He is drawn into one more gang fight and the events that follow begin to change his life. Written by
Bruce Janson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After hearing such rave reviews, I really was excited to see Francis Ford Coppola's indie classic 'Rumble Fish'. The film was shot in black and white and it had an expansive cast of talented actors including Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Dennis Hopper, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Tom Waits and Nicolas Cage. I enjoyed Francis Ford Coppola's other films like Apocalypse Now and of course The Godfather Parts I, II & III. From what I heard it was filmed kind of like this year's smash hit 'Sin City' ('Rumble Fish' was black & white but with dashes of color) only on a smaller scale. I rented this indie sensation when I was on vacation because they had it in the hotel video store. I couldn't find it in the Blockbusters in Arizona (where I live) and my portable DVD player was acting up so I couldn't view the DVDs I brought a long with me for the trip. It may have been just fate that I got the opportunity to view Coppola's 'Rumble Fish', definitely one of the most, if not the most inventive motion pictures I ever gazed my eyes upon.
The film is set in a 1950s - 1970s setting. With it's black & white color and just the way the film is presented it gives the audience a feel of the old 1930s James Cagney crime noir flicks. It follows a young and dumb hoodlum named Rusty James (Matt Dillon), whose the leader of one of the two gangs in town. After a huge rumble played out like a West Side Story scene from hell, Rusty is left hurt real bad when the opposing gang leader stabbed him in the gut with a switchblade. Coming to Rusty James' rescue is his older brother, The Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke) who hasn't shown his face in town for a year after disappearing to California. The Motorcycle Boy helps his younger brother out, and eventually starts to hang around the neighborhood more. From there, the plot follows the two re-united brothers as they hang around the streets and cause trouble, while the Motorcycle Boy tries to teach his less then intelligent brother the meaning of life. Dennis Hopper stars as Rusty James and the Motorcyle Boy's dad, Diane Lane stars as Rusty James' sweet friend, Tom Waits stars as the grill master in the town's diner, and Chris Penn, Laurence Fishburne and a young Nicolas Cage are featured as some of Rusty James' gang buddies.
First of all, I adored the way 'Rumble Fish' was shot. With his extraordinary talent, director Francis Ford Coppola really creates a thing of beauty and opulence with 'Rumble Fish'. The only real downside of this picture is that the plot drags entirely too much, and that's pretty bad for a film running only 90 minutes. The writing is mostly good, but 'Rumble Fish' seems to be missing a real plot. The film substitutes hypnotic cinematography and cool scenery for an easy-to-follow plot, which in my opinion is a big mistake. Although this kind of bugs me, 'Rumble Fish' is a good film for the most part. The acting is superb with a engrossing and passionate performance by a very young Matt Dillon and a powerful and carefully layered performance by Mickey Rourke who in my opinion should have gotten an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actor. Diane Lane is very good in one of her first roles, Dennis Hopper plays the alcoholic clueless dad perfectly and Tom Waits is a pleasure to watch. Nicolas Cage and Laurence Fishburne are also rock solid. If you want to see a film that's really out there and full of likable qualities, I'd recommend picking up 'Rumble Fish' your next stop to the video store. Chances are you'll find something or somethings to love about it. Grade: B
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