STinG’s review published on Letterboxd:
Juvenile delinquency by way of Expressionist cinematography and Impressionist editing, which makes it a more psychologically engaging version of that type of frenetic and aimless story type as long as you're willing to receive it (and it is unfortunate that most audiences would not). Really says something that when I was a teenager The Outsiders was one of my favorite movies and while I did not see this movie until I was 24, I think it's safe to say I would not have dug it nearly as much as a youngster (though Bram Stoker's Dracula was also a favorite of mine so maybe...).
Meanwhile, experiencing them again in my 20s (though unfortunately not back-to-back) all I see is The Outsiders representing everything Rumble Fish rebels against - it has a hazily nostalgic attitude about the sort of lifestyle Rumble Fish condemns, a comfortably sheltered and contained atmosphere that the final act of Rumble Fish is proud to shatter, and it is aesthetically sedate and relaxed in a way that Rumble Fish can't be, not when the sky is rapidly shifting, the shadows are threateningly growing, and Copeland's score* is apprehensively ticking. So, Rumble Fish reigns in my heart while The Outsiders sits in the side like a warm but distant memory.
*NB: the one thing that teenage me would have adored, whether he liked this movie or not... how the score confirms that Stewart Copeland is and always will be the best part of The Police (still one of my favorite bands).