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Teen Movie Critic

Rebel Without a Cause


Roger Davidson

Rebel Without a Cause
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The second James Dean film this week, this is the movie in his brief career for which he is most remembered. The story opens with a scene that introduces us to the three main characters, a trio of messed-up teens. Dean portrays the oldest of the group, a guy who is having difficulty communicating with his parents (a thing that hasn't changed much over the years), as well as trying to see past their faults to see that they really love him and are trying to watch out for him. Natalie Wood plays Dean's love interest, a girl who is also having parental troubles and is trying to find a stable relationship in Dean. Sal Mineo plays the one who seems most likely to self-destruct. He feels suicidal, has trouble with the bullies at school and is very lonely. Then Dean walks into his life, and nothing will ever remain the same.

The brilliant performances by the three leads broke new ground for films about youth and the angst of growing up in an adult society, which feels incredibly oppressive among young people's lives. The story offers a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime dramatic performance by Jim Backus (of Mr. Magoo fame) as Dean's father. Nicholas Ray also adds some brilliant touches to this revolutionary movie, which will stick out in your minds, long after you've seen it. If you want to start watching James Dean films, this is the perfect one to start with.

My Rating = Four Stars

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