I love this film. This is probably Copola's last great film. Matt Damon was robbed, this is one of his best performances, and that's saying a lot. I love the little nuances of his performance, like when he greets the "old lady' at her house.This is my 2nd favorite film of all time with deep personal meaning. We've all had people doubting our capabilities, just as the other team of lawyers discount Damon's competence. This film is about personal redemption. Further, I admire Damon's strength.Overall, a film every law student and lawyer should see for its humanity; <more>
its brilliance; and its judgment on the American legal system.
One of my favorite films of the last decade of the last century is The Rainmaker. It kind of got lost in the wake of all the fuss over Good Will Hunting and the joint Oscar Matt Damon and Ben Affleck took home for that original effort, but I'm a big fan of this up to date Frank Capra like courtroom drama.The Rainmaker was a studio project as opposed to Good Will Hunting and it has an impressive cast list to support Matt Damon as newly minted attorney Rudy Baylor taking on a big insurance company in a big civil lawsuit. Jon Voight, Virginia Madsen, Bruce Willis, Danny Glover, Dean <more>
Stockwell, Roy Scheider, are all in this. Cast wise it is as impressive as that film adaption of that other John Grisham novel, The Firm, also by the way set in Memphis, Tennessee.But I think that the supporting cast member that really makes the whole film work is Danny DeVito. Dec Shifflet, para lawyer extraordinaire who hasn't come around to passing the bar exam, is absolutely sensational as the street smart legal eagle without a license whose street smarts are some of the best ever put on the screen. How he was overlooked in the Oscar sweepstakes in 1997 is beyond me.The Rainmaker marked the film farewell for Teresa Wright who plays Mrs. Birdsong, Matt Damon's landlady. Matt cuts Teresa's lawn on the weekend and writes her will in his spare time. By the way, check the scene where he handles Teresa's inquisitive son. Matt wasn't totally without street smarts himself.The main plot is involving the suit of a young man, dying of leukemia, who is suing his medical insurance carrier because they would not approve the treatment needed to save him. It's a story that Frank Capra would have jumped on during his career. Young idealistic attorney takes on insurance company in his first trial. The insurance company and their hired legal guns headed by Jon Voight. As you watch Damon in court you see the faint shadow and hear the faint echo of Gary Cooper or James Stewart. But even those guys had some help from the Danny DeVitos back then. Good to have at least one savvy rogue on your side.The Rainmaker is good courtroom drama and there isn't a player going that doesn't want one of those. And here Matt Damon got it in what was his first starring role. How better to begin a career.
I teach a Legal Film class at college and introduced this film for discussion in one of my classes. The students enjoyed the film very much and it did have a favorable discussion session associated with the film reviews of the students. I would recommend this movie to other scholars teaching such Legal Film Studies such as this. As for a review of the film I found it upbeat for the most part and Damon and DeVito were quite a team and I found their work to add comedy to the film. I didn't quite see Daines as the battered wife, but I was surprised that she carried it off rather well. I did <more>
not like the whole Damon and Daines part, but I guess we must have romance in every movie these days.
This movie is not a movie that makes you think. It's not arty, there are no Corleones, there's really no issues to ponder long after the credits have stopped rolling. Instead it's a human drama that uses a courtroom battle as its backbone, but the entire body is the honestly-told if ultimately remarkable of a greenhorn lawyer trying to make a life for himself after law school. Like the more recent "Garden State" the movie is far more interesting than one would initially expect.I recently read the Grisham novel that the screenplay was adapted from and was impressed by the <more>
memorable cast of the characters. The corrupt-and-loving-it Prince and Bruiser, Deck Shiflett as the skeezy "paralawyer" who scrapes out a living with an amusing lack of self-consciousness, the bitter-tempered first judge and his pioneering, biased black successor, the politely patronizing and puffed-up Legal Titan Leo Drummond, Cliff and his straight-from-Deliverance hillbilly family, lonely and slightly bossy Miss Birdie, chain-smoking Dot and her addled husband, all of them set a standard for memorable but believable characters.Yet the movie is itself a cut or two above the original material. The extended cast does a hands-down fantastic job of bringing each character to life. First billing has to go to Danny Devito for transforming Deck from Rudy's unscrupulous and ugly sidekick in the novel, into a more take-charge and casually hilarious partner. Just take a look at the scene where he leads Rudy into the hospital or when he's giving out his card to the kids in Dot's neighborhood. But that's just one of about twenty stellar acting jobs. The extended cast includes Danny Glover, Jon Voight, Claire Danes, Mickey Rourke yes! , Virginia Madsen, and a handful of other talented but lesser-known actors who show their absolute best through the skillful lens of Coppola.Besides the stellar job by the cast, the story is tweaked to absolute perfection. Whether it's the Coppola magic or an excellent adaptation and editing job, I see a transformation similar to his triumph with "The Godfather": an absorbing but complex and sometimes rambling story is condensed into its absolute essence. Not a single shot is out of place.Something else struck me about this adaptation -- it reminds me of Peter Jackson's LOTR in the way comic moments are used to balance out the weightiness of the main plot. For example: in LOTR Merry and Pippin set off Gandalf's dragon fireworks, or in the second movie Gimli can't see over the parapet towards the advancing Uruk-hai, or in the third movie Sam and Gollum have their argument over the proper preparation of rabbits and 'taters and Gandalf instructs Pippin to keep his big mouth shut before they enter the hall of Minas Tirith. Likewise "The Rainmaker" has its little touches of humor as well, from the sardonic lawyer jokes in Rudy's voice-over, to the scene where Deck fake-helpfully hands over Drummond's lost shoe after he's been assaulted by an angry juror, to Rudy's red-faced apology to the car accident victim in traction whom he has accidentally jostled, to Madsen's laconic yet particularly devoted husband Bert. "Guess who DIED last night?" "...Do you ever sleep?" There is anxiety during Kelly's return to her house, the suspense of the bug showdown, the pathos of Rudy's final speech: all these combine with the lighter moments to balance each other like a film version of Pickapeppa sauce.Who could have ever guessed that a Grisham novel could be so perfectly adapted to the screen?! Just try watching the "Pelican Brief" afterward for comparison. My hat is off to Coppola, his cast, and everyone else who contributed to this understated masterwork.
Great Storytelling Despite Overt PC (by ccthemovieman-1)
It is rare that I would rate a piece of strong liberal propaganda this high but I've always really enjoyed this film, even if it is blatantly manipulative in its political correctness preaching. It's just great storytelling, regardless.The film features a deep cast and one that puts on a great displaying acting, from the lead "good guy" Matt Damon to the lead "bad guy" Jon Voight to all the performers somewhere in the middle, headed by ambulance chaser Danny DeVito.It's not a believable story at all - a rookie lawyer fresh out of school outsmarting a team of <more>
proved veterans with big money backing them - but it makes for a good story. Everyone likes to root for David against Goliath, which is what this turns out to be. Just one example, by the way, of the political correctness in here: the kid lawyer's hopes of a fair trial only become reality after the older, obviously-corrupt white judge suddenly dies and is replaced by Harvard- educated black judge Danny Glover, of all people . Now, as it's quickly demonstrated in the film, a man of Liberal sensibilities will be bring fairness and justice to this case!The story is not flattering to lawyers, but it's not all-condemning either. It's pretty balanced in that regard. It's just good storytelling and, I might add, without much profanity. Damon does very well in this choice role and once again demonstrates why he is considered one of the best in the crop of today's younger actors. It helps that he portrays an extremely likable character, who not only sticks up for a poor, neglected family against a big, wealthy corporation but rescues a sweet woman Clarie Danes from her physically-abusive husband at the same time! Wow, he does it all: SuperLawyer!Danes is very appealing as the battered wife who winds up being romanced by Damon. That part of the film is not distracting, but a nice break from the legalese of the main story. It helps make the movie even more involving. There is very little "action" in here but not much is needed to keep one's attention since it is so entertaining for the full 2-plus hours.
Holds your attention and makes you ponder (by TheUniquePerception)
This is one of those films that makes a person question what they would do in similar situations. When we encounter injustice do we act or do nothing? It is a great role for Matt Damon as he plays the innocence of a recent graduate well. As his character is faced with older more heartless lawyers, he shows a lot of courage to try to do what is right against all odds. It is a film that may motivate you to make your world a better place. The cameo by Mickey Rourke is a fun experience. Many us can recall meeting our first corrupt boss and this scene with Rourke captures the feeling. Jon Voight <more>
plays an outright cold calculating corporate warrior. He pulls it off so well that it really extracts a strong emotional response. There is a lot of solid acting, writing and drama that feels real. It is the sort of experience that can change the way you see the world. And that is good.
Johnny Whitworth And The Test Of Time (by arichmondfwc)
It was something else, seeing The Rainmaker again, 20 years later. The plot, the cast, the look of it, it all has that Coppola touch and thathas to be with truth, the way he, Francis Ford Coppola sees it. Beautiful, powerful and moving but the most powerful element after 20 years turns out to be Johnny Whitworth. What a gorgeous, soulful performance. It took me by surprise, I remember the character from my first viewing but this time his is the character who affected me the most. Imagine in a cast that includes Teresa Wright! Yes, Teresa Wright, Dean Stockwell as well as Matt Damon, Mary Kay <more>
Place, Jon Voight, Danny De Vito, Mickey Rourke, Claire Danes. Time does extraordinary things. It reveals the center of the center of the truth.
All cultures have what the sociologist Arnold van Gennep called "rites de passage," also sometimes called puberty rituals, in which the initiate enters the ceremony as a child and emerges as an adult. Coppola and his team show us Rudy Baylor's rite de passage as an attorney. Matt Damon, as Rudy, is a fresh faced preppy-looking kid just out of law school. After working for the sleazebag played by Mickey Rourke and going into partnership with Danny DeVito who has flunked the bar exam six times , he can look back down the slope and pick out the idealism he left sprinkled along the <more>
route of his ascent. He winds up quitting practice.But it's not a particularly gloomy story. I missed the credits when I first saw this so I had no idea who had created it. I expected a cheap ne plus ultra of mind-numbing commercial fluff. What else would anyone expect with a title like that -- "John Gresham's 'The Rainmaker'"? Shades of Sydney Sheldon! The opening didn't suggest much more than that. There is a voice-over by Matt Damon explaining his background and expectations to us. And we see him being guided open-mouthed through the slimier parts of the judicial system. DeVito introduces him, for instance, to ambulance chasing. Not too promising, really, because professionals who operate within heavily guarded social borders -- like lawyers, cops, doctors, and pilots -- almost always assume that the audience is too dumb to know that collusion between a judge and a prominent lawyer takes place. The lay audience is now cynical enough to recognize Perry Mason for the Norman Rockwell fantasy that he is.But it was much better than that. Half-way through I began to think, this director, whoever he is, is pretty deft. I was surprised at an undercurrent of humor. Sometimes it was situational. Two lawyers for instance, dashing into a courtroom to try a case, neither of whom has a license to practice law. "Sworn in by a fool and vouched for by a scoundrel," Damon muses. Sometimes the humor requires less attention. In the middle of a dramatic pause, DeVito, eager to deliver a piece of evidence to his partner, stumbles loudly over a waste basket. And there were smaller, delicate touches. A splatter of blood spots on a wall as the camera cuts away just before someone is hit over the head. Damon and Claire Danes with whom a love bond is too quickly established in a prison visiting room, unable to express their affection because they are lawyer and client, except that under the table the tip of his shoe slips forward and brushes the tip of her boot. Wow. Nice touch. And Claire Danes' wife-abusing husband is a stereotype if there ever was one -- yet after his murder is discovered and the blinking screaming police cars arrive and she is about to be taken away, the wife-abuser's family can be heard in the background shouting, "DAMN you, Kelly. What did you do? You killed my SON?" Coppola and the writers have given this moron a previously unheard-from family of his own, and added another surprising dimension to his character.And I couldn't get over the performances. There are several unexpected small parts taken by well-known actors. And every one of them has a life of its own. Virginia Madsen is being interviewed in a motel room by Damon, and she spills the beans on the malignant corporate megagiant that provides the unoriginal heavy. As she speaks, she smokes a lot and the camera moves slowly down her arm to show her fingers trembling in her lap. Only later do we learn she has psychiatric problems. Cinematic synecdoche! Roy Scheider is extremely good too, a disdainful presence in the witness chair. He's from Orange, New Jersey. Why does DeVito so often seem to wind up in movies with other actors from New Jersey? What is it about that state anyway? Does the Jersey Devil have something to do with it? Why does hail always have to be the size of something else? If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding INTO? Anyway, this, for Coppola, is a pretty straightforward story, neither the grand opera he's attracted to, nor the more quiet "personal" films that usually come in between.I really kind of enjoyed this one. Of the current crop of younger actors, Matt Damon seems to me to have the most talent, as opposed to, say, Keanu Reeves. And Claire Danes is so frangible, so beatable in this movie; even with her leg in a cast and the rest of her limbs and head in bandages, she's morbidly alluring and radiates a sort of semisexual heat. Come to think of it -- well, never mind. See it if you can. It's pretty good.
Amiable yet smooth adaption of the John Grisham novel, that closely follows an inexperienced Memphis lawyer, Rudy Baylor Matt Damon , who gets the unexpected feeling of being in the profession by taking three cases right away. The cases vary from an old woman who is unsure about what to do with some money, a savagely abused domestic victim, and a lawsuit involving a major health insurance company.Writer-director Francis Ford Coppola and one of his writers from "Apocalypse Now", Michael Herr, handle the adaption fairly well in knowing what to keep from the story in and what to leave <more>
out. For someone who made himself a legend by adapting "The Godfather" and "Heart of Darkness", Coppola sure knows how to use a novel as the main source for creating a good tale here.Plus, the movie has an excellent supporting cast Danny DeVito, Jon Voight, Mary Kay Place, Claire Danes, Dean Stockwell, Virginia Madsen, Mickey Rourke, Roy Scheider, and Danny Glover to be in the movie alongside Damon. Among the ones that come to mind, DeVito is great Deck, as a crafty and humorous para-lawyer who has trouble with the bar exam and helps Rudy in adjusting to the line of work, Voight's fine as the not-so-totally slimey lawyer that Rudy faces in the lawsuit, just looking at the Danes character for a second alone, is a really sad and Rourke is amusing as Brusier, the employer that Deck and Rudy desert when they find out that he's the target of a federal probe.In conclusion, "The Rainmaker" may not be as highly memorable as "The Godfather" or "Apocalypse Now", however; it shows that Coppola still has the skills to be a great film-maker. It's nice to see someone who has been on hard times, bounce back with a good movie.