Rebel Without A Cause
James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause was “emo” before there was a word for it. Dean plays a middle-class high-schooler with an ill-defined edgy streak and parents who smother him with love while picking at each other. Nicholas Ray’s 1955 teen-angst classic is artfully composed in a widescreen frame that makes suburbia look at once cramped and endless, and Ray makes striking use of color and light, contrasting the bluish shadows in the corners of rooms with Dean’s bright red jacket. The movie’s psychological insights are mostly bunk, but the depiction of adolescence’s own rat race still resonates, and Ray’s grasp of how to deploy Dean as a pop icon made the young Method actor a star.