Rumble Fish (1983)

Rumble Fish Poster

Rusty James, an absent-minded street thug, struggles to live up to his legendary older brother's reputation, and longs for the days when gang warfare was going on.

Film Background
"Rumble Fish" is a 1983 American drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It is a black and white adjustment of S.E Hinton's novel of the same name. The movie features Matt Dillon along with other huge names of Hollywood such as Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Dennis Hopper, Nicolas Cage and more. The film explores styles of alienation, teenager disobedience, identity and time.

Plot Summary
"Rumble Fish" centers on the life of a boy called Rusty James (Matt Dillon), who resides in the shadow of his older sibling, the Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke). At the start of the movie, Rusty James is seen as a hard, energetic, and high perky person, wanting to accomplish the very same track record his older brother developed as a leader of a regional gang.

A considerable portion of the movie is committed to the Rusty James' inefficient relationship with his daddy (Dennis Hopper), an alcoholic ex-teacher, and his often physically aggressive relationship with his sweetheart, Patty (Diane Lane).

Return of the Motorcycle Boy
The essence of the story starts when the Motorcycle Boy go back to town after a long absence, considerably changed, sparking intrigue and unsettling reports about his experiences. His return marks a psychological shift for Rusty James, as he attempts to replicate his older sibling and reignite gang wars, which becomes a point of dispute due to the fact that the Motorcycle Boy is now against this type of violence.

Symbolism and Themes
A major theme throughout the movie is the constant ticking of time. Coppola utilizes the symbolic imagery of the 'rumble fish', exotic Siamese combating fish in an animal store that the Motorcycle Boy frequently checks out and compares to, to represent the characters' underlying inner turmoil and aggressiveness, and maybe their desire for liberty, as the fish are trapped in a little tank.

Rusty James' battle for identity and regard is external to an extent however primarily internal, as he is always compared to his epic older bro.

Climax and Conclusion
The climax of the movie comes when the Motorcycle Boy, in a bid to "release" the rumble fish, get into the animal shop late at night, which sets off the alarms. When the authorities show up, he is shot and killed. The shocking death of the Motorcycle Boy in his attempt of liberating the rumble fish to the river represents the extreme reality of their caught existence.

At the close of the movie, Rusty James manages to ride on his sibling's motorbike to the ocean, a location the Motorcycle Boy had always wished to take him, symbolizing Rusty James lastly stepping out of his bro's shadow to confront his life independently.

Critical Reception
"Rumble Fish" got mixed reviews upon release. Critics praised the movie's dreamlike black-and-white visuals and ingenious sound design, however, some slammed the story's absence of coherence and disconnectedness from reality. For many years, the film has actually gotten a cult following and is valued more for its creative film-making and strong performances.

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