Rumble Fish

Rumble Fish

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In thinking of films that are able to exemplify many film elements that are put together in an interesting and organized manner the movie Rumble Fish comes to mind. The director Francis Ford Coppola demonstrates how metaphors are able to help decipher a deeper meaning of the film. Rumble Fish is a film that is about growing up and seeing new things that have never been seen before. The two main characters who are brothers Rusty James and the Motorcycle Boy, experience internal conflicts. Rusty James the younger of the two looks up to his brother and wants to be like him. However the elder has grown out of his previous demeanor of always fighting and he doesn't want his brother to follow in his steps. Throughout the film he ask Rusty James why he is following him. The Motorcycle Boy knows that his brother is somewhat trapped in the city and someone needs to get him out or set him free. He looks to the fish in the pet store to explain this and it is how he relates to his brothers problems. This is the scene that will be examined of when Rusty James is in the pet store with his brother and they are looking at the fish. It has been explained how much everyone in town looks up to the Motorcycle Boy, and on numerous occasions Rusty James said he was going to look like him when he was older. Even though the Motorcycle Boy never shows much affection, he wants something better for his brother, and even though he never tells his brother to leave until the end when he knows he is going to die, he tries to let him know through the fish. So until this point in the movie the viewer never really knows how the Motorcycle Boy feels about his brother.
The pet store is a metaphor for the lives of these two brothers. The Motorcycle Boy feels the fish are angry because they are trapped in the fish tank, he says if they were in the river they would not fight. To him Rusty James is the fish and if he got out of their town he would realize that there is something more in life.
The scene starts with a dissolve of the clouds and a sign the says "Pet Store.

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" The camera shows a double framing shot of Rusty James in the doorway of the pet store, where he pauses for a moment, and it seems that he might be unsure of whether he wants to go in or not. There is a cut to the Motorcycle Boy and he is staring into the fish tank. This scene contains the natural lighting that most of the other scenes have. Even though, the lighting is repetitive it is considered a motif of the film. Rusty James and his brother are tracked from fish tank to fish tank. The camera shot is at a straight on angle shot from the other side of the fish tank, which puts the two brothers in a double framing shot. The camera tracks the two brothers from each fish tank to the next as the Motorcycle Boy explains to Rusty James what the "rumble fish" are. The tracking does not add much to the scene however keeping both brothers together is important because it allows the viewer to see the facial expressions of both men. Tight framing is used when there is a two shot of the brothers from the other side of the fish tank, and the camera also shows exaggerated close-ups of the two brothers that are used for reaction shots. The dialogue is monotone, except for times when the Motorcycle Boy sounds sound by the condition of the fish, or the way Rusty James sounds when his brother is trying to explain what the fish are. All is he able to add to the conversation is, "I like the colors." Then when the officer enters the camera angles change somewhat. Since Rusty James and the officer are standing there is a low angle shot, and with the Motorcycle Boy who is kneeling there is a high angle shot. The editing consists of shot reverse shot between the three characters, with distinct close-ups that show detailed facial expressions. The Mise En Scene in this scene is limited compared to others, the lighting used is the standard used through most of the picture. The costumes are very realistic with Rusty James continuously wearing his tank top, however they are not elaborate. Coppola was able to create a film of this caliber and not have to use all the fancy film techniques of the time, and that is one reason why it is such a masterpiece.
When the two brothers are looking at the fish it is somber, in the way the speech is projected in such a low manner. The elder also tends to look quite somber, he relates to the fish and it makes him think about the life for himself and his brother so he becomes depressed. However, since both brothers are so enthralled with the fish it tends to be a light-hearted scene. When Rusty James listens to his brother about the fish let alone anything he finds it all interesting and he is happy to hear anything he has to say. Rusty James does look and sound quite confused when his brother is talking to him, he continuously scratches his head and also has a dumbfounded look on his face. The lighting does not change much in this scene however the natural lighting that is throughout the whole movie almost makes this movie what it is.
For the majority of the scene the camera is on the opposite side of the fish tanks, and even when it is not the scene always maintains an objective point of view. It is obvious that the camera is in an objective point of view because it is on the opposite side of the fish tank or it is directly in the face of Rusty James, the Motorcycle Boy or the officer. The objective angle across from the fish tank is exceptionally effective because it gives the viewer a chance to see the faces of the two brothers when the elder is explaining and the younger is trying to comprehend. The objective point of view adds to the way the viewer sees the way Rusty James feels about his brother.
As said before this scene says a lot about the intelligence level of Rusty James and also how much he looks up to his brother. As far as the Motorcycle boy is concerned this scene exemplifies how much he cares about his brother even though he is not able to show it. Even though Rusty James has such a hard time comprehending what his brother is taking about he still pays such close attention and does everything he can to understand what he is saying. He even tries to make comments that will add to the conversation. The Motorcycle Boy shows that he cares about his brother by the use of his metaphor of getting the fish out of the pet store compared to getting his brother out of town. Even though Rusty James may not be able to link these ideas together, the fact of him caring about his brother is brought out.
This film is full of scenes that are done beautifully, and there are many that could have been analyzed. However, noticing the metaphor of the fish to the two brothers it seemed that this would be a perfect scene to analyze. Most of the other scenes all contained the film elements that would allow for a wonderful analysis, however they did not always have the deeper meaning tied in. As far as the film elements this scene showed them as well as any other scene, with a beautiful example of the natural light used throughout the film. This is so very important to the overall meaning of the film because the title is explained. The Motorcycle Boy tells Rusty James that the fish are "rumble fish," and he thinks that is the fish were put in the river they would not fight anymore. He is explaining that people just like the fish would not fight so much if they had space, and this is the message that Coppola was trying to convey in creating this film.
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