Rebel Without a Cause

Once you been up there you know you've been someplace.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * * )

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In this age of a supposed increase of violence in schools (which is indeed false) our media seems more than happy to point the finger at films like Basketball Diaries and The Matrix for their external violent imagery. They find it easy to forget the very freedom they use every day and chastise movies that on the outside supposedly fit in the minds of these violent children. Movies like Rebel Without a Cause on the other hand takes us within the true view of what is going on in the minds of disturbed teens. Jim Stark is a rebel. He is a teen who does not fit the same social order that the rest of the world does. He can't place his finger on it, but something is just plain wrong. Is he going to kill somebody? Is he going to die? We don't know. We do know he is a man of honor and although disturbed, all he wants is to do the right thing. His parents drive him crazy with their constant struggle of a dominating mother and a submissive father. At school he is an instant target for the local tuffs. Even when he tries to befriend the girl next door, she gives him up to the very gang he wishes to avoid. Finally he is unleashed. Because of the age of the film, you have to put on a slower hat to watch this movie. It took me three nights to make it through the hour and fifty one minutes. The pace is very slow even with the constant strain on the characters. Many of the scenes and lines are almost a bit too surreal. Still James Dean shows the hard edge that the character needs, and that in itself does the movie proud. The DVD is a good collectors edition with a 2.55 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture and a remastered but very subtle Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There are quite a few extras including an interview where James is asked for his opinion on the dangers of driving (he was killed later in a car accident). Overall, one of the original staples of tough, hard edged movies. A bit slow, but worth seeing.