If academy awards could be given for the dominance of a decade then Francis Ford Coppola would without contest have been the greatest director of the 1970’s.
Patton (1970) , Godfather I (1972), Godfather II (1974) and Apocalypse Now (1979), four epics, four cinema classics, in but a single decade. Alas, as with most great film makers, after several successes a steadily decline and fade into obscurity soon began.
Nowadays Coppola is unheard of in the world of film making, the unknown Tretro (2009) being his last project. But one anomaly, or bump, if you will, in the natural process of a director’s decline, occurred in 1983.
It was Rumble Fish.
And it was a total failure.
Budgeted at $10million it made a meagre £2.5million at the box office. Critics and reviews tore it to shreds in their pompous columns, one even going far enough to question Coppola’s mental state to make such a picture.
But if you watch the movie; not as a Coppola fan, nor as a Mickey Rourke or Matt Dillon fan, then what you will see in a mysterious, intriguing, and utterly incomparable movie that finds its way into no particular genre.
The discrete Coppola-isms that bring a smile to a knowledgeable fan are rife in the picture. The set and the scenery, the haunting script that brings flashbacks to the dialogue of the great Apocalypse Now, as well as the darkness of plot that is almost impossible to summarise or explain.
Rourke plays his character to perfection, as is to be expected. And Dillon, yet again, portrays the disgruntled youth with blissful ease.
Pay your respect to a director that has passed through in the industry we so much love.
Any chump on the street knows The Godfathers and his other big hits.
Do yourself a favour; broaden your horizon; watch Rumble Fish and be absorbed.
Francis Ford Coppola Reigns.