Rumble Fish: Special Edition


After his quartet of ’70s masterworks, Francis Ford Coppola hit the ’80s flushed with ambition. But he came up less than trumps with neon flop One From The Heart and a pair of lo-fi SE Hinton adaps that failed to lure the teen crowd, despite starring every thrusting young supernova in Hollywood. Still, Rumble Fish – which, like The Outsiders, hangs out with alienated youth as they gang-fight, booze and shag – has its moments. Coppola discusses his fondness for the film on this two-discer’s wistful chat-track.

Tinged with autobiography, the director’s attempts to make a stylised art film for adolescents results in moody monochrome visuals, Police man Stewart Copeland’s sparse, percussive score and blatant riffs on The Wild One. Radiating charisma, Mickey Rourke’s the Brando-esque Motorcycle Boy, adored older sib of rebel Rusty (Matt Dillon). Other nascent talents on show include Coppola’s then-18-year-old nephew Nicolas Cage.

“Maybe Rumble Fish is pretentious stuff,” muses Coppola. “But I made the film very sincerely.” In that light, you can maybe forgive the heavy-handed symbolism. But as defiantly experimental as it is, Rumble Fish still ends up languishing on the mild side.


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