Rumble Fish

This essay has a total of 1432 words and 6 pages.

Rumble Fish



Intro to Film

Rusty James vs. Rumble Fish

In thinking of film’s 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.” 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
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