SAL MINEO MOVIE REVIEW
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
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What can be said about a film that is one of the most influential classics ever made? PLENTY!
"Rebel without a cause" is still a timeless masterpiece. Kids of today can still relate to it's basic premise, of youth misunderstood.. .of wanting to belong.. The clothes, hair, and times may have changed, but the story of 3 teens, bonding as the world around them seems to cave-in, is just as potent today as it was in 1955. James Dean delivers a knock-out performance, as Jim Stark.
It's his first day at a new high school. Only, this time, he wants to do things the right way: A troubled past, his parents avoid problems by simply moving. On this day, Jim truly wants things to be different for good. The night before wasn't great!. Arrested for public intoxication, his parents, perhaps the first glimpse of a "dysfunctional" family on screen, hardly know how to handle the situation:
Mom is overbearing, self-centered and constantly ruling over anything his father has to say. His dad is a lilly-livered man with good intentions, but Jim needs guidance. He begs for it, in his rebellion. At the police station, among the other teens in trouble, is Judy (played by the gorgeous, Natalie Wood). Judy has similar problems with her parents. Her father actually slapped her for kissing him on the cheek! All Judy wants is to feel loved.
Also appearing in Rebel is Dennis Hopper in one of his first on screen performances as a gang member.
Also at the jail, is John "Plato", played to perfection by Sal Mineo (Nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor). When we first meet Plato, he is being questioned why he shot a bunch of puppies, a horrifying way to introduce a character, but somehow, Mineo makes us care about Plato, a rich kid with tons of problems: His dad disappeared, and his mom is always away on trips, leaving him to be cared for by the family maid. Plato is looking for somebody to be his friend, or family. And by the end of 24 hours, these 3 will make their own tightly knit little circle.
After a rough start in school, Jim finds trouble during a field trip at "Griffith Park Observatory" with a bunch of rough kids, including Judy, who runs with the wrong crowd. Jim meets Plato at the Observatory, who warns him not to "monkey with" them. But, the kids are dead-set on causing Jim trouble, and before we know it, Buzz, the leader of the gang, forces Jim into a knife-fight, which Jim wins, but ultimately leads to a duel on a cliff, to see who can drive towards the cliff without jumping first! Buzz dies, and the gang wants revenge on Poor Jim. Jim, Judy, and Plato form a kind of "family", and end up hiding out at a deserted mansion near the Observatory, as the gang searches for them, as well as the police. In Jim, Judy finds a young man who she can truly love...And Plato finds a buddy he always has wished for.
The performances are so gut wrenching, and real, you cannot help but feel their pain.. .When Plato screams out, "save me" holding a gun, as the gang closes in, you cannot help but feel his pain. These 3 not only make you care for them, but you can almost "feel" their agony. "
Rebel" is not just the tale of teens trying to fit-in. It is also about friendship.. it's about loyalty.. integrity, and the basic need to feel loved. That is what makes this movie so potent. That is why generation after generation have discovered, and embraced "Rebel". Times have changed, but human emotions haven't: We all long for human interaction, and companionship. And for 24 hours, at least, this family of 3 found it. We should all be so lucky.