Guyzo997’s review published on Letterboxd:
Francis Ford Coppola makes some type of weird amalgamation of “The Wild One”, “Catcher in the Rye”, “Rebel Without A Cause”, “West Side Story”, and “The Last Picture Show,” with the resulting movie being closer to the lesser of them. With the black and white film stock and heavy shadows, I kept wondering if this was Coppola’s homage to Fellini, and movies like “La Dolce Vita” and “8½.”
The only color in the movie is the titular rumble fish, and I suppose it’s because they’re important, though I didn't know why. Is it because they’re free, as opposed to these characters? The fish just swim around, no cares in the world, while Dillon and Rourke have to carry around the baggage of who their parents are?
The movie throws in themes like the passage of time, absent parents, the damage of gang violence, and angsty youth, but the story doesn’t take them anywhere interesting. It looks good, Coppola knows how to photograph in black and white. It’s acted well too, Dillon and Rourke give maybe the best performances of their careers.
But it’s at the expense of the plot, which doesn’t get enough intrigue. Also Coppola took the trouble to cast his nephew Nicolas Cage, only to barely utilize him. His character even virtually disappears in the middle act. This is to the film’s dire detriment. Two and a half stars.