Jesse’s review published on Letterboxd:
Multiple times throughout Rumble Fish, I questioned, "When does this film take place?" I had always assumed, being it was another adaptation of an S.E. Hinton novel, that it must've been in the 50's, or somewhere in that area. Nothing in the film however, directly indicates its time period. After some digging online, I found a source that claims this film takes place during the late 60's. But even with that information in mind, there is something about Rumble Fish that has such a timeless quality. It's the reason why I think this film has held up overtime, unlike Coppola's other Hinton take, The Outsiders. The entirety of Rumble Fish plays out like a cinematic memory. Coppola's choice in shooting with that stark black and white photography (captured beautifully by Stephen Burum) really gives the film that nostalgic feel. The sparring use of color sprinkled in here may be just as brilliant as High and Low's color use. All the hallucinatory imagery throughout Rumble Fish is also quite incredible. Whether it be the Koyaanisqatsi inspired time lapse shots, or Rusty James' spirit sequence, these moments in the film really set it apart from other similar films. Matt Dillon delievers such a charasmatic performance here as Rusty James, the boy who's perspective we follow. And god damn, Mickey Rourke is such an incredible actor. He delievers a performance as cool as James Dean, and his presence on screen is just as intoxicating. It's a shame we didn't get hundreds of great performances out of him throughout the years. I really haven't dug into Coppola's post-70's work at all surprisingly. This and The Outsiders are all I've seen. If Rumble Fish is any indicator of what's to come in his later films, I'm very excited to dive into them. Coppola isn't just a one trick pony folks. You can see with this film among others that he is a wildly versatile filmmaker. He's made quite a personal film with this, one that's rather daring for someone who was a big a name as Coppola. Rumble Fish is probably a 5/5 film, but I can't say that with certainty until I see it again. I loved every minute of it and I can't wait to get my hands on the Criterion so I can watch this again and again. Oh, and that last shot...one tear man. One tear.