(Review originally written at 6 July 2010)

The movie is about some of the typical struggles of teenagers. It was a mostly relevant and revolutionary picture back in the '50's but you can also definitely say its still being relevant to today's young audience. They struggle with their own identity, stuff at school, feeling like outcasts and misunderstood by your parents and everyone else. This movie has all this stuff in it, teenager at one point or another used to struggle with. It's set at a certain point in life when you have to decide who you want to be be and what you want to do with your life but without knowing the answers yourself to any of this. You have to explore and discover it on your own, the easy or the hard way.

Of course the story and events get exaggerated and enlarged, in order to fit all of those themes into an under 2 hours movie. It's perhaps the biggest and only complaint of the movie that it doesn't always move natural and isn't the most realistic movie around, concerning the story and its themes. It's still mostly being a subtle movie though, so you don't have to be afraid of any melodramatic plot lines or performances of the actors.

James Dean was an absolutely great actor, whose style was really that of his own and unlike anyone else's of that time. His acting was really confident and even somewhat cocky in a good way. He plays his character really well and not in a way you would normally expect to see in a movie like this. His performance alone already made this movie a classic. There are also some other great, young actors in this, such as Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood and Dennis Hopper with hair, in his first movie role.

It's an original movie with its story and approach and it also got shot in full color, which does really give the movie some extra dimension. I'm not the biggest fan of the director Nicholas Ray but with this movie he simply did a great job. It's also definitely his best known- and most appreciated one. He did some stylish, symbolic and just plain good stuff for this movie.

Not the perfect classic but a great classic nevertheless.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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