Rumble Fish ★★★★½

Hideously undervalued, Rumble Fish sees Coppola working at the top of his game, with one of the great casts of the 80s swanning through its dirty, monochrome aesthetic. After a surge of hyper-stylised technical prowess, the opening sequence flaunts Nic Cage, Matt Dillon, Tom Waits, Chris Penn, and Laurence Fishburne all as baby-faced and cool as ever. Sound design hasn’t been this revolutionary in a film before or since, with birds chirping, sirens blaring, horns tooting all on cue to Stewart Copeland’s (of The Police fame) percussive symphony. It’s pure rock and roll, submerged in a mist of crumbling economy and creeping police brutality, an unbreakable bond of brotherhood at the centre. It’s like The Warriors in black and white but nowhere near as unintentionally homoerotic, with a touch of Linklater and Jarmusch, and a heart that beats ten times as loud. My main gripe is with the script; Rusty James is a cool name and all, but I don’t need to hear it tacked on to the end of every sentence. Even then, with a coked-out turn from Dennis Hopper, Mickey Rourke in a staggeringly understated performance, and the rest of the cast owning their respective roles, this is a complete miracle of sight and sound, with a fight scene that makes the choreography of any Marvel movie look like child’s play, and a penultimate shot that will be burned into my mind for an eternity. Essential.