The Rainmaker stars Matt Damon, Claire Danes, Danny Devito, and John Voigt in roles and is directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The film follows the character of Rudy Baylor, portrayed by Damon, a young, righteous lawyer with a romantic idea of how the law should work and a disgusted impression of how it does. Baylor is indoctrinated into a dishonest firm, but quickly rushes to the honest defense of a family who have had their insurance claim denied unfairly. The film explores the idea of integrity in the practice of law and the justice system, in a picture of the late 90s south, and is based on the novel of the same name by the one and only John Grisham.
This was a film that I was expecting to favor well with me. I’m a sucker for legal drama, and I’m an even bigger sucker for the image of people doing right when it would be easier not to. Righteousness is an idea not nearly broadcasted enough within the entertainment industry, and it’s that reason why I think writers like Aaron Sorkin, and, indeed, John Grisham, are a gift unlike no other. That’s my daily dose of Aaron Sorkin fangirling.
Jokes aside, The Rainmaker is infused with moral value, in as blatant a way as it could be. For me, that’s an abundantly positive thing. I have learned, however, that projecting an integrity and honor centric way of living can tend to be labeled ‘preachy’ in the 21st century (case in point: the criticism that often faces Aaron Sorkin. Okay, now I’ll stop). It might be advisable, if you’re one of those people who can’t stand the idea that there is a way to be behave that is better than you are now, to avoid watching this film.
I should think that it wouldn’t bother most people, seeing as it’s woven into what could only be described as a strong, memorable storyline. Characterization is a very strong point in the bare bones of the film; it’s not easy to make an audience care about a character they only see for a limited number of minutes on screen but they manage it in the case of Donny Ray Black, the crippled young man whose condition is pointedly ignored by the insurance company his family is suing the film. It is a similar mold from which they have produced Claire Danes’ character, Kelly Riker, and her relationship with Rudy Baylor (Damon). I can’t put my finger on what is is that’s endearing about their relationship. Aide from the strong chemistry, the contrast between Baylor and Kelly’s husband, Cliff, forces a shockingly whole image of a relationship which is not, in the end, given much of any screen time. Mention is also due to John Voigt, who does a typically masterful job of antagonising himself in the role of the lead counsel on the opposing side.
All in all, this is as strong a film as any you’ll see. Between Damon’s charm and a sharp, intelligent, and easy-on-the-ear script, your attention shan’t waver. I would go as far as to say that this is not only a good film, but an important one, and I’d would place on it my strongest of recommendations.
– Aman Datta
Aman’s Score – 80/100 Aryamaan’s Score –