East of Eden Reviews
The film is trite and melodramatic, a complete step backward from the novel. James dean might be brilliant but surrounded as he is by overacting, that brilliance is only visible in retrospect.
....that loud breaking sound? Yeah that was my heart.
In this film James Dean looks like he could either violently explode or be disintegrated into a million pieces by a light breeze. His performance is a showcase in vulnerability, which, in a way, is was acting is about - the vulnerability and availability of an actor's emotional truth and interpretation of the character. The story is fine, but by the end of the film, all I can remember is Dean, whose performance is a master class in what acting should be.
Overall, see this film for James Dean.
We feel for Dean in the same way we feel for a caged ape torn from its mother and held in claustrophobic solitude, yet we fail to ever fully understand him all the same. It's a masterwork of enigmatic performance and, thematically, narratively and characteristically, Kazan's film is phenomenal, ferocious and raw throughout. Not to mention absolutely gorgeous.