Rumble Fish ★★★★★

It's no wonder Coppola tired so soon and so easily of classicist filmmaking....he's completely consumed by emotions and so he tries to find a way to express them. In other words: this man is intoxicated, completely wasted on cinema. He lives, breathes, eats cinema. This is the middle film in this 1980's monumental trifecta (the others being One From The Heart and The Cotton Club) of total aesthetic, sensory reaction. This one is so utterly aestheticized, stylized, explosive that it's easy to forget there is a very precious coming of age story here.

Still, I don't know what the hell this movie is about, but I doubt letting one know was even Coppola's intention. It's another film about youths (there are lots of these in C.'s filmography) and like its (surprisingly) sister film Peggy Sue Got Married, Coppola seems to found some mastery in giving life and color to the hyper-emotionalized world of adolescence. This certainly goes much further than the remarkable opening of the other film, lights flash, consume the entire frame, as Rusty James (or like much of us in our youth) are consumed entirely by the moment. Still, there are lots of fascinating things here, and the movie is too exciting on a formal level that I have trouble paying attention to it all! It's really intoxicating. Still, there's talk of feudalism ("Another glorious battle for the kingdom?" "I thought we had a treaty." "The Greeks got 'em") Yet the Motorcycle Boy is equally dismissive of such statements regarding adolescent, urban life.

One thing is for certain: everything is in crisis, over-emotional, nothing is ever for certain. The Motorcycle Boy comes in peace and then gladly walks to his own death. Meanwhile Coppola is formally going nuts, bringing us in and out of other people's consciousness, like Rusty's drunkeness, Motorcycle Boy's colorblindness and hard of hearing, drowning out the sound at moments, launching glorious superimpositions. The film is so formalized that the real locations feel like movie-sets. And the ending is so moving even if my sense of the narrative almost non-existent: Rusty sits at the shore with seagulls, inadvertently finding what the Motorcycle Boy was looking for.

Neil liked these reviews