When it was released in 1983 Rumble Fish was met with near universal critical incomprehension. It seemed another deliberate step by Coppola on his road to career suicide. Yet time has been kind to what the director described as his "art film for the kids."
Set against the rundown backdrop of industrial Tulsa, Coppola heightened every facet of this tale of teenage rebellion with stylised camerawork, stunning monochrome images, time-lapse photography and portentous symbolism, so that the film comes to resemble a cross between Rebel Without A Cause and A Bout de Souffle with a large dose of German Expressionism thrown in.
If Mickey Rourke's performance as The Motorcycle Boy now seems overly mannered, the heart of the film lies with Matt Dillon's bruised, hustling Rusty James, in thrall to the legend of his brother but heartbreakingly aware that he's 'a dummy', unable to understand the tragedy that is unfolding before him. One of the coolest films ever made.