I know most critics prefer "The Outsiders" to this film in director Francis Ford Coppola's two film adaptations of S.E. Hinton novels, but I've always liked "Rumble Fish" far better between the two. There is a level of prevention to the film (shot in black & white, surreal elements, heavy handed symbolism, and lots of characters pontificating), but I have to say that this film works for me and I'd put it up there with Coppola's best films, which is saying something considering his filmography ("Apocalypse Now!" "The Godfather," etc.). The story here is set in Hinton's usual world to street toughs. Matt Dillion is the leader of his gang, mostly based upon his older brother's legendary status from when he led the gang. Mickey Rourke plays the older brother, The Motorcycle Boy. One character described him as, "He's like royalty in exile." Rourke is perfectly cast in the part as a handsome, charismatic but troubled young man and Dillion is equally good as Rusty James, doing everything he can to live up to his brother's reputation but nowhere as smart or charismatic. There are a number of subplots involving Diane Lane as Dillon's girlfriend, Nick Cage as his buddy, a cop who's out to get The Motorcycle Boy (played by my all-time favorite character actor, William Smith) and the boys relationship with their alcoholic father, Dennis Hopper, and hints about what happened to their mother. Coppola strikes a wonderful balance between filming a universe thats' as visually rich as any Fellini film, but also manages to give the film a heart by shaping some well drawn characters and very strong performances that are among the best in any of his films. Many other famous faces populate this desolate landscape including Vincent Spano, Chris Penn, Laurence (billed as Larry here) Fishburne, Tom Waits, Tracey Walter and even S.E. Hinton herself as a hooker. Stephen H. Burum also gets huge props for some of the best black and white photography done outside of the golden age of Hollywood. Composer Stewart Copeland, and ex-member of The Police, also delivers one of my all-time favorite filmscores, mixing industrial sounds of the big city into the music itself to a wonderful effect. I will admit that this film is full of self important pretentious that turned off many critics, but I think the writing and strong performances give it a heart, as compared to most Fellini films (outside of "La Strada") which were strong on visuals and overt symbolism. For whatever reason, the pretensions don't get to me and I love this film. The passage of time of time being a major theme, one of my favorite moments is form a passing character, Benny, played by Tom Waits, states, "Time is a funny thing. Time is a very peculiar item. You see when you're young, you're a kid, you got time, you got nothing but time. Throw away a couple of years, a couple of years there... it doesn't matter. You know. The older you get you say, "Jesus, how much I got? I got thirty-five summers left." Think about it. Thirty-five summers."