Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) is a self-centered dealer in exotic cars. He imports high-end sports cars into the states and sells them to the highest bidder. Within the first 10 minutes, we learn that he is not above bribing the EP for the cars to pass emissions, that he treats his girlfriend poorly, and that his father has just passed away. As he goes to the reading of the will, hoping for a big payday, his father leaves him only a car. Charlie is furious to learn that more than $3 million in a trust account has gone to an anonymous person. Turns out the anonymous person is an institutionalized autistic savant named Raymond (Dustin Hoffman).
Since Raymond is a voluntary patient, Charlie organizes his discharge (for his own nefarious reasons) and the two set off on a journey to Los Angeles. Along the way, the cold and calloused Charlie warms up to Raymond, even as the autistic man has more and more difficulty in living life outside of the controlled environment of the institution. So it’s basically a road movie that tracks the change in character of Charlie from a money-hungry bastard to a caring individual. In the end, Charlie becomes less concerned with the potential money he can get from Raymond and more on the health and safety of Raymond himself. It’s a satisfying arc for Charlie. The film is widely credited as an insight into a condition (autism) that previous to 1988 wasn’t very well understood by the masses. The writing is strong, the directing excellent, and the acting top-tier.
Rain Man is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC MPEG-4 codec at an average 30 mbps. Fantastic print for this transfer, some of MGM’s best work. Since the film has lots of exterior shots on stark landscapes, it’s easy to test for common problems we encountered with the old DVD release. The colors are well-reproduced with no blurring or bleeding of color. The sharpness of the image is consistent throughout, and the skin tones and black level are well set. This is absolutely a beautiful and faithful image presentation. Detail is extremely high with a sharp and textured picture throughout.
The DTS-HD Master Audio is a solid 5.1 presentation. The opening sequence gives the surround speakers some work with a remake of the classic “Iko Iko” Cajun-influenced song. Dialog is appropriate to the center. but there is not a lot of dynamic expansiveness in most of the film. Some of the road sequences open up with wind and birds, and the casino sequence really uses the surround speakers and the bass to full effect – it really feels like you are in the midst of a loud, busy casino.
The best of the extras, however, are three separate commentaries by Director Barry Levinson, Screenwriter Ron Bass, and Screenwriter Barry Morrow. Levinson’s is the most informative of the three and probably the only one worth listening to.
As far as deleted scenes go, there is a whopping one deleted scene where Raymond gets lost in a store and gets run out of the store by the shopkeeper.
The Journey Of Rainman: (22:07) SD Levinson talks about how he came to be involved in the film and gives us his take on the film production.
Lifting The Fog – A Look At The Mysteries Of Autism: (20:13) SD Along with clips of the film, we get a look at the real disease and people who actually suffer from it.
Rain Man is truly a great and unique film. This is definitely worth picking up if you like excellent acting, great direction and a wonderful story.
Some of this review was written by Gino Sassani