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Reckless

(James Foley, USA, 1984)


 


A disgruntled teen rebel (Aidan Quinn) faces a dull classroom questionnaire. To the question, "What do you want out of life?", he impatiently scrawls in large letters: "MORE!"

It's easy to make this passionate, quite extraordinary teen movie sound very clichéd and predictable. The elements are certainly familiar: the hero on a motorcycle, fleeing a broken, working-class home; the staid, blonde cheerleader (Daryl Hannah) who badly needs liberating from her middle-class family; the mass of conformist fellow students; the school prom.

What makes the film great, however, is the energy and vitality with which it animates these familiar elements. That constitutes a lesson in cinema, itself no doubt familiar – but one that needs to be re-learnt, over and over.

Director James Foley – here making a remarkable feature debut, the quality of which he was really never able to match again – invests every action, from violent family arguments to wild, secretive love-making, with a tense, explosive physicality.

It's a very erotic film: with the help of a brilliantly selected rock score, Foley fashions this work into a veritable paean to bodily release and heady emotion.

The desire for freedom and love, the yearning to escape a harsh and miserable daily reality: such themes are perhaps standard, but Foley gives them an urgent, burning expression; his investment in the material is palpable.

Anyone who is resistant to teen movies should find out from Reckless, once and for all, what youth-on-film is all about.

MORE Foley: The Chamber, The Corruptor, Fear, Glengarry Glen Ross At Close Range

© Adrian Martin August 1990


Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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