Rumble Fish ★★★½

Coppola moves beyond the great American picture for an experimental loser cinema drunk on the romance of its own loser mannerisms, making noise to prove silence wrong for a while. The gulf between noise and silence is everything for the way it's held up by the images' rich contrasts and expressive shadows as well as the uncanny ADR that fills scenes filmed without sound, but is also passed over by everything else. True to the history of the melodramatic mode (where internal thoughts and ideas are expressed and moulded physically) Cage and Rourke wear vintage affectation to disclose period truths, and Dillon flails in his inability to rise to this and see it for what it is. He's all blind action when he should be thinking, and all feeling without a form to express it, so for all the posturing he's physically illiterate in action as well as comprehension: his brother's not the prince in exile everyone talks about, with kingdoms over the hills and far away; by his own admission he's already dead and now bears the marks on the body to prove it, dragging it through the street for everyone to see. And but Tulsa's eerie, at once inhabited but unnaturally still mid century anachronism is presented through this revenant figure. He recognises its beating heart, but as the one who moves exclusively through shadows and memories, can't get too close lest he take it with him when he goes. It's a limbo on the brink of dissolving, and fragmentary like Gans' Silent Hill, with vacant buildings concealing the abyss beyond Rumble Fish's walls, fog twirling around gates that won't open, and broad day fires spilling sheets of smoke that erase any proof there's anything out on the horizon. The skies show time moving too fast for anyone to hold onto but the clocks here don't have hands.

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