Rumble Fish [Masters of Cinema][UK] Blu-ray Review

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  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: 18
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Run time: 94 Mins.
  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment (Masters of Cinema)
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 27, 2012
  • RRP: £20.42; £30.63 (Steelbook)

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Rumble Fish was Francis Ford Coppola’s (Apocalypse Now; The Conversation) second adaptation of one of author S.E. Hinton’s novels, coming right off the heels of wrapping production on the previous adaptation for The Outsiders. Doing a complete 180 in tone, Coppola’s Rumble Fish was a surreal examination of urban decay, misspent youth, and brotherhood shot in black and white with occasional blips of color. Laden with symbolic imagery of lost time, allusions to Greek mythology and even the post-war philosophical ramblings of the Beat Generation (“California’s like a beautiful wild girl on heroin who’s high as a kite thinking she’s on top of the world, not knowin’ she’s dyin’ even if you show her the marks”), the film is focused on the relationship between the two brothers Rusty James (Matt Dillon; Crash; The Outsiders) and The Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke; Immortals; Passion Play; The Expendables; The Wrestler). The younger Rusty dreams of being a gang leader like his brother while the recently returned The Motorcycle Boy, a philosophizing hero amongst the local gangs, seems world weary, tired of his former life. The acting isn’t exactly the highlight of this 1980s peculiarity as much as the dreamlike state evoked by the beautiful, angular camera shots, extreme close-ups, time lapse photography and film noir inspired cinematography of Stephen H. Burum. With that being said, the cast assembled by Coppola is one of the great ones that perhaps only a director of his caliber could assemble, consisting of those he previously worked with like Dennis Hopper and Laurence Fishburne as well as numerous individuals who would go on to become Hollywood staples, such as the aforementioned Matt Dillon, Nicolas Cage, and Chris Penn. Also of note is former drummer for The Police Stewart Copeland’s evocative film score that is both eclectic and fittingly syncopated.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Given the glorious black and white noir-inspired cinematography of Rumble Fish, it’s really a must to get this one right in high definition. I’d say this Masters of Cinema series edition on Blu-ray gets it near perfect in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement. The image is rather clean with only the slightest hint of scratches peeking through on the occasion. A thin layer of grain remains offering a good, textured film-like appearance that remains constant and consistent throughout and there are no appearances of artificial manipulations to the image. Contrast is splendid, with the dark night scenes offering inky blacks and stark white while the bright, daytime scenes have stable white levels and proper greys.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Both the original stereo track in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) and a 5.1 remix in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48khz/24-bit) are offered. While purists will surely appreciate the addition of the original mix, it is the 5.1 option that really allows the soundtrack to breathe, providing a much wider stereo soundfield versus the 2.0 option’s rather narrow, almost monaural sound. The 5.1 also sounds much cleaner and clearer whereas the stereo option has a bit of a veiled sound to it. The Stewart Copeland score really sounds exemplary in this 5.1 option, with lots of punch, spaciousness and dynamics. The surrounds add in an extra bit of atmospherics to open things up a bit more.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Although much of the featurettes here seem to be of an archival nature, they are still worth sitting through as they offer up a lot of good information. The Coppola commentary is, as usual, entertaining, conversational, and informative. Coppola is always very natural and interesting with his commentaries and this one is no exception. The music & effects track will also be a boon to those who appreciate this Stewart Copeland soundtrack.

The supplements:

  • Music & Effects Track
  • Commentary – Features director Francis Ford Coppola
  • On Location in Tulsa (1.33:1; SD; 00:11:41) – This archival featurette offers location footage of the film’s production in Tulsa as the cast, crew and author S.E. Hinton discuss the development of Rumble Fish from start to finish.
  • The Percussion-Based Score (1.78:1; SD; 00:11:54) – A discussion of Stewart Copeland’s score for Rumble Fish features interviews with the musician and Coppola.
  • Deleted Scenes (1.78:1; 1080i/60):
    • “Motorcycle Boy Isn’t Coming Back”
    • “Hey Steve, Is Your Mother Dying?”
    • Stealing Hubcaps with Steve
    • Feelings and Ideas Book
    • “Take the Chapter on Rusty James and Write the End”
    • Cassandra was the Princess of Troy
  • Theatrical Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Booklet features the worlds of Francis Ford Coppola, archival imagery, and more.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Rumble Fish is perhaps one of Coppola’s underappreciated film’s amongst general audiences, but it is in fact a master class on multilayered filmmaking. It has been accused of putting style over substance, but I argue that it is in fact so densely packed with both style and substance (with that substance being numerous references to influences both literary and filmic) that it is often misunderstood by many viewers, especially those who were expecting another The Outsiders.

Additional Screen Captures

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Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]


1 COMMENT

  1. Glad to see such a detailed review of the blu ray of Rumble Fish. This is one film I have been wanting to see in hi def. Glad to have a region free player, doubt this will get released here in the states on blu. Glad to see Masters of Cinema not using DNR and keeping the grain intact. Awesome.

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