A few thoughts...,
This review is from: Rebel Without a Cause (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Nicholas Ray's 'Rebel without a cause' is one of those layered parables that lends itself very easily to analysis - and could be deconstructed several different ways.. What appeals to me beyond the substance of this movie is the very simple ways in which it grasps the viewer.. and usually when people talk about the movie they focus on the emotion of Dean's performance.
It strikes me that the subtle way Ray takes the triangular structure of parenthood is so very neatly reflected and amplified in the new triangular relationship that is formed later in the film (Dean, wood, and mineo).. This new triangle seems almost a dream but it is riddled with the same problems of the first and ends with the unfortunate but fitting climax.. Ray takes an eternally interesting struggle and perpetuates it with no clear resolution - as would normally be seen in a film from the 1950's.
Even when taking into consideration all of the other elements that are subtley thrown in - Freud, homosexuality, 'man alone' - it is the simplicity of the structure of the film and its uniformity that impress me the most..
Very few movies are able to express so much in such a brilliantly wrapped package.