Rumble Fish is sort of a sequel to The Outsiders. It's based on the book written by S.E. Hinton, who also wrote The Outsiders. It also features a few of the same acotrs that were in The Outsiders. The star, of course, is Matt Dillon.
I can't believe I wasn't into this movie a decade ago. It has everything that The Outsiders has. It has rumbles, it has excitement, it has Francis Ford Coppola. Who could ask for anything more? It even has Tom Waits. As a matter of fact, the last time I tried to watch this movie, I stopped like a half hour into it. I think I was expecting it to be another The Outsiders and frankly this is more experimental than that, some of it works really well and some of it does not.
Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke) and Rusty James (Matt Dillon) are brothers. Rusty is younger and looks up to his bad older brother. This dynamic runs throughout the entire film. It is the heart.
Most of the film is a gritty drama about a life of crime. It shows young people doing what they do and providing a perfect explanation as to why they do it. But it feels more like a student film. The black and white makes it feel like it wants to be a Jean Luc Godard film. Fortunately a young Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke are flawless in the performance they give. There are moments that invoke Breathless (1960) and even Roman Holiday (1953).
It's pretty ballsy that Coppola made this film. First of all, it was a sequel to a much beloved film and a novel that is required reading in high schools. But The Outsiders has a pretty straight forward narrative that isn't exactly cutting edge. This film gets inside of the heads of the characters. There are so many scenes of people just talking to each other and it offers so much insight into their background. It really makes you believe that these character existed before and after this film.