Aidan Quinn, Daryl Hannah, Adam Baldwin, Kenneth McMillan, Cliff De Young, Lois Smith, Billy Jayne, Toni Kalem, Jennifer Grey, Dan Hedaya, Haviland Morris, Pamela Springsteen, Susan Kingsley Update Cast
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Reckless is a highly underrated film, with a distinct 80's "West Side Story" meets "Rebel Without A Cause" feel to it.
The film appears to contrast the cold, dreary setting against the rebellious fire of its two stars, Aidan Quinn and Daryl Hannah, when in fact (one discovers), the backdrop only serves to FUEL said fires, ever-encouraged by the angry and angst-ridden musical soundtrack.
Reckless is set in a bleak, overcast, apparently northeastern industrial town, where most teenage aspirations only go so far as marriage to their high-school sweetheart and future employment at the local steel mill.
Johnny Rourke (Quinn) is a star football player who, in light of his broken family and miserable alcoholic father, comes to realize he wants (as he puts it, simply) ‘MORE’ out of life, and begins to openly rebel against every standard thus far imposed upon him.
Rourke falls for Tracey Prescott (Hannah), a rich and popular cheerleader with a jerk for a boyfriend (Randy Daniels, played by Adam Baldwin). Rourke rigs the class vote so that Tracey is paired with him at the upcoming senior dance. Tracey does not let on that she is intrigued by the moody and mysterious Johnny, and agrees to attend the dance with him under the thinly-veiled guise of ‘responsibility’ to her senior class.
Randy’s overt jealousy, resulting in Rourke’s ejection from the dance gives Tracey the perfect opportunity to take off with Rourke for their first private encounter. One feels the sexual tension between them combined with their continued realization of how different the two are on the surface, but not so much underneath..
As the film progresses, we get a good glimpse of both Tracey’s and Johnny’s home lives, and they could not be more opposite. Tracey’s family is well-off, openly communicative, trusting and loving. Johnny’s family is the essence of ‘broken’- a mother who took off on an alcoholic, verbally (and later, physically) abusive father, played by Kenneth McMillan. Johnny has independence and loneliness thrust upon him, often having to pick up his drunken father at work, and only to be ‘thanked’ in the form of rapid-fire insults thrown back at him.
Tracey begins to question her own ‘good girl’ image, and in her frustration runs into Johnny once again (quite literally), and the pair get into some mischief in the high school at night (including a somewhat graphic sex scene).
After this encounter, Tracey is more drawn to and frightened of Johnny than ever before, but he continues to pursue her, as she relents...several times (yes, more sex). Tracey’s boyfriend continues to gain suspicion that something is going on between his girlfriend and Rourke.
Rourke’s life continues to unravel. Having to pick up his drunken father from work and drive him home strapped to his bike (again), has caused Johnny to be late to football practice. The coach (played by familiar character actor Cliff De Young), attempts to make an example of Rourke, and ends up getting the short end of the stick, as Johnny quits the team.
Johnny comes home to find his father in the arms of who Johnny thinks must be a prostitute. A fight ensures, and Rourke gets thrown out of the ramshackled house, but not before his father destroys Johnny’s turntable, one of Rourke’s few prized possessions.
A few days afterwards, Rourke’s father dies from an industrial accident as a result of drinking on the job, and this is the final straw. Johnny decides in order to save himself, he has got to get out of this town. Tracey is the only worthwhile thing in his life, and he intends to take her with him.
During the annual ‘Career Week’ at school, we see Rourke try to convince Tracey to leave with him. Tracy hesitates, and before she can answer, Randy discovers the pair. The resultant brawl leads Tracey to alert the entire assembly of the fight, perfectly setting up the conclusion of the film. The next shot is of Rourke on his bike inside the school, revving the engine and telling Tracey how much he needs her.
A love story with an edge, ‘Reckless’ is a great film and definitely worth watching, if only to see relative newcomers Aidan Quinn and Daryl Hannah, and revisit 80’s New Wave music.
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