Release year: 1983
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Screenwriter: S.E. Hinton, Francis Ford Coppola, S.E. Hinton (based on the novel by)
Starring: Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Nicolas Cage, Dennis Hopper, Vincent Spano, Chris Penn, Laurence Fishburne
Ratings: 1 Golden Globe nomination: Best Original Score.
Street thug Rusty James (Matt Dillon) strives to live up to the reputation of his legendary older brother The Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke) as the head of a small gang in an industrial town. When his brother returns it seems everything will be all right again, but instead it starts to fall apart.
Director Coppola (The Godfather, 1972) filmed Rumble Fish and The Outsiders (1983) back-to-bach, which is why several cast members recur. Shot in crips black-and-white and an avant-garde style similar to French New Wave cinema and German Expressionism, Rumble Fish is one to divide the audience, right from when it opened to mixed reviews, till now, where it has grown in esteem and by held in high regard by many. Despite Rourke (The Wrestler, 2008) playing the title role as the big brother who we only ever get to know as The Motorcycle Boy, Dillon (Crash, 2004) carries the movie as the younger brother so badly wanting to gain the respect his brother has. The biggest difference between the two brothers seems to be that Rusty James tries desperately to fit in, while Motorcycle Boy seems like he couldn’t care less whether or not he fits in. What they have in common is that none of them fits in. The older brother has moved on to the bigger city, but still comes back to the home town where he is considered something of a God, emphasized by the way he speaks in metaphors, and the wound he carries is soon so apparent that you realize he never really managed to leave. Rourke and Dillon both delivers good performances in each their way but the bold and extravagant style of the movie sometimes drowns them and the story. Masterpiece or not, Rumble Fish still remains an original movie all these years later.
The name Rusty James is said at least 50 times in the movie. That is approximately once every two minutes.
Picture copyrights: UIP