The Rainmaker Reviews
This was released a couple of weeks before Matt Damon's huge hit Good Will Hunting, so this is one of his first big roles in a movie. Danny De Vito does a great job in adding plenty of humor to the movie, and Jon Voight adds a lot of dramatic effect to his character.
The story follows a young lawyer who is representing the family of a boy with leukemia who could have had proper treatment, but couldn't because of a seedy insurance company. The movie pretty much follows the book, but the problem is that the book had a few great sub plots that seem absent from the movie, and one scene that happens in the middle of the movie happens in the end of the book. The scene is very intense, but it seems more like it belonged at the end of the movie, rather than the middle.
This is worth watching, it is one of the best Grisham films, and there are plenty of great qualities in it.
Francis Coppola is a highly respectable, very strong director that broke ground with his filmmaking sensibilities in the 1970s... and now that it's the '90s, he's just gotten a little bit dull. No, I'm kidding... he's always been a little dull, and that fact certainly goes unchanged here, for although the film is never tedious, it's consistently slow. That, combined with many rather messily-handled subplots, create lulls in engagement, which of course leads to convolution. Now, these are all flaws found in a deal of Coppola's films, even "The Godfather" films. However, no matter how slow or how convoluted films get, they're always comfortably-paced. Now, we're not looking at "Munich", where most every second of an overlong film isn't just palpable, but even slower, but the pacing is certainly off, and if you're going to have a slow, sometimes unengaging film that runs a palpable 136 minutes, then you better have the goods to back that up. Well, sure enough, through all this film's faults, it hits in enough places to not only help you through the film, but make it pretty darn enjoyable.
We give a lot of credit to Coppola as a solid director, but it seems as though we don't give enough credit as a writer, because the guy's good, always adding a lot of snap and intrigue in the dialogue, and this dialogue is no different. The film hits way too many slow points, but it's not hard to make it through them, because there's so much sparkle and charm in the dialogue, but when drama comes into play, the snap in the dialogue is used to really slickly drive points across. However, no matter how snappy dialogue is, they're just words on paper and matter not if they don't have people delivering them snapily. Well, sure enough, the performers bring the charisma, from the always slickly charming Matt Damon, to, of course, everyone's favorite short, balding Jersey-Italian comedian, Mr. Danny DeVito. Still, through all of the charm and comic relief, this is still a drama, and it's not only the charm of the dialogue that changes to support the more serious moments, because the performers really know how to work that charisma. Few performances are terribly tremendous, but most everyone delivers subtle, strong perfromances that play their parts in this machine well. Matt Damon particularly stands out, portraying the Rudy Baylor character with a strong, but still rather subtle aura of humanity that deeply immerses you in his situation, making him a solid avatar for the audience, yet there is still a lot that's mysterious and unstable about this man faced with realities more harsh than he ever expected, and you're often on the edge of your seat, wondering when he will break, making him a generally strong lead.
Overall, the film is as slow as your usual Francis Coppola film, only with a little more messy subplot handling and a slower pacing, but you're still kept by, if nothing else, the snappy dialogue that supports our performers' charm the breaks up some pretty solid drama that is also carried by the performers, particularly Matt Damon, who's strong performance as his own man, as well as an effective avatar for the audience helps in making "The Rainmaker" a genuinely enjoyable experience.
3/5 - Good