No one was surprised when Francis Ford Coppola revisited Apocalypse Now, but his overhaul of The Outsiders raised a few eyebrows. Here was a modestly successful film better remembered for its Brat Pack cast than its Oscar-winning director, but The Complete Novel succeeds in bringing more of S.E. Hinton''s young adult classic to the screen along with Coppola''s epic vision. The story remains the same: The working class greasers and wealthy Socs ("Socials") of Tulsa, OK, circa 1966, are at war. Despite the bigger names in the cast--Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe--the friendship between C. Thomas Howell''s Ponyboy and Ralph Macchio''s doomed Johnny is still the focus. If anything, Tom Cruise, as an obnoxious greaser, gives the least promising performance, while Matt Dillon (Crash) as the unpredictable Dally and Diane Lane (Unfaithful) as the beautiful Cherry provide a taste of the mature work to come. Aside from 22 minutes of restored footage (including a prologue and epilogue), which add heart and grandeur, The Complete Novel includes several new rock and roll tracks, most by Elvis Presley. In the end, the revamped Outsiders still plays like a cross between Rebel Without a Cause and The Last Picture Show--and that''s a good thing. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
S.E. Hinton''s beloved novel of teens from the wrong side of the tracks, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, featuring Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze and other young stars.
Director Francis Coppola''s adaptation of the popular S.E. Hinton novel about the price of rebellious youth is notable chiefly for the stunning cast of young actors who went on to rich and varied careers. In supporting roles, the film features the likes of Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Diane Lane, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, and Tom Waits, among others. The story centers on two rival gangs in the early 1960s Midwest, and the violent turf wars that escalate and tragically claim young lives. C. Thomas Howell plays the central character who yearns to prove himself and be accepted by his older brothers'' gang, while at the same time finding his first love and dreaming of a life beyond his dead end existence. Geared toward the teenage crowd, the film nonetheless features some fine direction from Coppola in a story that evokes memories of the classic coming-of-age films of the 1950s. --Robert Lane
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