Sunday, February 5, 2017

Rebel Without A Cause - Movie Review

Another classic. The 1955 James Dean starrer (the 24 year old died in a car accident before the film released) was about dysfunctional families, confused kids growing up without direction and parental love and guidance.

The first scene is beautiful - a drunk James Dean falls down clutching a doll and hugs it tenderly in that shot he conveys his need to be secure, to be understood, to just sink into a comfortable space. At the police station  where he is taken for being drunk, we meet two other youngsters, one young kid who has shot puppies with a gun and another, a girl found wandering the streets after curfew time. All three seek love and understanding from their parents but we can see that the parents are hopelessly incapable of doing anything like that, thereby distancing the children further. The children seek solace in dangerous pastimes - gangs, death rides - during which one youngster dies in an accident. The events wind down to a mansion where the three youngsters are hiding from the police and from a gang - there's a beautiful scene before a tragic ending where the three playact a warm and wonderful house with James Dean and Natalie Wood play acting a married couple and the Sal Mineo (Plato, the boy who shoots the puppies and the most vulnerable of the lot) showing them the house.

Poignant. Addresses a social issue and entertains. Wonder why film makers shy away from social themes. James Dean puts in a powerful performance.

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