Rumble Fish

Rumble Fish ★★★½

Once one gets past the purposefully theatrical and bizarre dialogue and settles into the film’s rhythm, it becomes an engrossingly strange take on 50s gangster tropes. It’s familiar by way of Hinton’s writing tics (every character has a NAME, damnit, A BIG FAT NAME), but the way it throws every technique against the wall to explore the author’s pet themes of familial burdens and soda pop nostalgia is always interesting, if not entirely successful. Case in point, a tedious, meandering portion of the film in which Rusty James and The Motorcycle Boy explore the seedy downtown ends with a startlingly bracing out of body sequence, during which Matt Dillon (floating through streets of dry ice fog), continually smokes a cigarette like its no big deal. It shouldn’t work, but it shocks you into pretending it does.

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