Some of you may know John Grisham as a politician or an attorney but thatâ€™s not very likely. Like me you probably know him as an author of some of the best legal/crime fiction novels. His works have made their way to the big screen several times including; The Firm, Runaway Jury, A Time To Kill, The Client, and of course The Rainmaker. Although itâ€™s been quite a while since Iâ€™ve seen any of the aforementioned films I do remember them all being rather good, I just hope The Rainmaker can live up to what I remember.
Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon, The Bourne Identity) has recently graduated from the University of Memphis Law School, but canâ€™t nail a well paying job. Eventually he resorts to something that goes against his principles and becomes an associate to J. Lyman â€œBruiserâ€ Stone (Mickey Rourke, Sin City), a cutthroat and successful ambulance chaser. On the brink of bankruptcy things arenâ€™t looking very promising for Rudy, especially once his employerâ€™s office is raided by the FBI. Nonetheless Rudy decides to stay on a case he had just accepted and enlists the help of associate Deck Shifflet (Danny DeVito, Twins). Although Deck has failed his bar exam multiple times he has experience working with insurance companies and excels at information gathering.
Now the ball is set in motion and the two are up against the wall in a case that is close to Rudyâ€™s heart and is potentially worth millions. An insurance company refuses to pay for a bone marrow transplant that could have saved a young boys life. Now looking for damage the family faces off against a hot shot lawyer (Jon Voight, Heat) with Rudy entering the courtroom for the first time ever.
Iâ€™ll start off by saying that this movie isnâ€™t for everyone, there are a lot of slow parts, but ultimately it was a solid movie. The story was extremely well written from beginning to end and I really enjoyed how it depicted all the work that goes into a trial behind the scenes. Developing the case was the most entertaining part of the film for me, but what made it so believable were the performances of Mickey Rourke, Danny DeVito, Jon Voight, and Matt Damon. Each added something to the movie in their own different way, and although the material can be a bit dry at time they kept me interested. The only aspect of the story that seemed out of place to me was the relationship formed between Matt Damon and Claire Danes. It didnâ€™t seem to serve any purpose other than take up some screen time, but thatâ€™s Hollywood.
So, to put it plainly, for a legal drama The Rainmaker was great, but on a larger scale of things it wasnâ€™t spectacular. In other words if you like the genre then you should check this one out if you havenâ€™t already, otherwise give it a rental because it does tell quite a compelling story.
Presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio, The Rainmaker looks extremely good for its tenth anniversary. As soon as I popped this in I was pleased to see a crisp presentation, with impressive detail and depth. Colors are surprisingly rich and deep, even in poor lighting conditions like Bruiserâ€™s office in the opening scenes. Blacks are almost always rich with very few instances of grain. Aside from the noted grain and occasional softness The Rainmaker looks great. Paramount has done a very good restoring the video transfer for this film, fans of the film should definitely check this one out.
Paramount has included a 5.1 Dolby Digital track with The Rainmaker and although it is front heavy, it does a good job presenting the films dialogue heavy track. As I just mentioned the movie is dialogue driven but the track presents this clearly and without any faults through the front channels. The rear channels radiate with the occasional song or sound effect, sub support however is somewhat lackluster. Still, for a pure dialogue driven film, the track does impress.
The Rainmaker isnâ€™t equipped with a lot of features but what is included is fairly informative. The making of feature at 27 minutes is the highlight of special features and should be checked out by fans of the film.
- Audio Commentary – Commentary with Director Francis Ford Coppola and Actor Danny DeVito.
- Deleted Scenes – 4 deleted scenes included an alternative ending.
- Watch The Rainmaker with Francis For Coppola – Coppola discusses how he became interested in the book which eventually lead him to direct the film.
- Francis Ford Coppola directs John Grishamâ€™s The Rainmaker – A 27 minute look on the making of The Rainmaker. This in depth feature focuses on Directors Coppolaâ€™s filming styles which, including interviews with the director and the cast.
- Screen Tests – Screen tests from Matt Damon, Claire Danes, Mary Kay Place and Virginia Madsen. Each screen test only runs a few minutes but each provides an interesting look at the individual actor.
The film itself was well portrayed. Although there were a few things I didn’t care about in the story, the acting more than made up for it. If you like the genre, check this one out, and if youâ€™re already a fan of it this disc is going to be worth picking up as it features both great looking video and sounding audio.