Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Outsiders (1983)

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Writers:  Kathleen Rowell, S.E. Hinton
Cast:       C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Tom Cruise

A town is split between the wealthy South Zone gang called 'The Socials' and the poor North Zone gang called 'The Greasers'. When two poor greasers are attacked by the socs, one of them kills ones of the attackers setting out the chain of events depicted in the film.

This was Coppola's second film after the big budget 'Apocalypse Now' which made him almost bankrupt. It was made back to back with 'Rumble Fish' which also featured many of the actors and was shot in the same locations. It is an odd little film with a very different atmosphere to it. It is not gritty as one would think considering the background of its characters but that might be due to the fact that the main two characters that we follow are teenagers. Essential message of the film is for the Ponyboy kid to Stay Gold and move up the social classes by pursuing his studies. In some sense these two teenagers are much more mature than their older gang members. Stevie Wonder did the 'Stay Gold' song and much of the soundtrack consists of Elvis Presley tracks. 'Out of Limits' by 'The Marketts' is used in an important scene and I had a dejavu moment when it came up being very familiar with it form 'Pulp Fiction'. That scene with blood spreading all over the screen would remind you of the Grindhouse also. 

In places like India where people take religion, caste etc to divide and gang up, in developed world the social class is the differentiator. With so much talk about gentrification and inequality in recent times, the film might find resonance for many. It is not a perfect film but is among the better ones I have seen dealing with teenage angst. Haven't seen 'Rebel without a cause' mind.

Rating: 3.5/5