As a huge admirer of Nicholas Ray, I find it hard to admit that I dislike most of Rebel Without a Cause. It is too self-conscious - the artifice comes to the surface without leading to a larger articulation of poetics, the "themes" are hammered down incessantly. The result is too stiff, too mediated for my taste.
nvaluable as a time capsule that show two of 1950s most sexy teenage stars: James Dean and Natalie Wood. James Dean is such an force in this film that it could easily be seen as one of the greatest performances of that decade. Ray's direction only strengthen this with great detail. The "chicken run" race is a memorable highlight of the film that has been copied numerous times since.
I normally have a heavy aversion to American coming-of-age flicks, to its sugar-coated, superficial representation of teenagers and the problems they live, and in that case, James Dean as the shy, persecuted child is pretty ridiculous. But all the cars, leather jackets and young faces of the American way of life count for nothing when death comes around.
This is the first time I watched a movie from actor James Dean. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE is engaging, amazing, and full of spectacular performances. Especially by the legendary James Dean. His style of acting kinda reminds me of Marlon Brando. There's a certain aura - when I watched his acting. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE maybe seems a little bit dated. But this movie still succeed to deliver its important moral values...
This is the movie that made James Dean the icon that he is but this film is more than that. It's also a very deep, human and emotional drama that shows, with a dash of melodrama, how tough it can be to be a teenager and the yearning to be free and do what you want to do with your life. Nicholas Ray was ahead of his time as a filmmaker and a storyteller.
For now at least, I've come to the conclusion that it is not the classic it is made out to be. Its message of rebellion and restlessness, despite its namesake, has an unnecessary nihilistic streak: it is far too mean, uncaring, and mean-spirited. There is a spirit underneath that goes beyond dated dialogue and references, that only appears enlightened in its psychology, while remaining ignorant of its own negativity.
Considéré par la critique comme un chef-d'oeuvre, il ne serait pas fâcheux de réviser ce jugement dithyrambique en évacuant ou du moins en faisant abstraction du mythe James Dean. On peut objectivement reconnaître que l'acteur est loin de renouveler sa géniale performance d'"A l'est d'Eden" et que le film de Kazan est bien plus percutant, envoûtant que la modeste réalisation de Nicholas Ray... www.cinefiches.com