Director Spotlight: The Rainmaker


Matt Damon has always been a favorite of mine. He seems to really understand what it takes to be an actor. As opposed to his counterpart who seems to just want to be a movie star. (Ahem* Ben Affleck) Take him, a cast of great actors (Danny Devito, Claire Danes, Mickey Rourke, Jon Voight, Danny Glover), and Francis Ford Coppola and you will have the makings for a great movie.

The Rainmaker, also a novel by John Grisham, is about a young attorney, Rudy Baylor who gets his first job working for a mob lawyer/ambulance chaser.  He acquires the client of Donny Ray who has leukemia, but is being denied insurance by his laughingly named insurance company “Great Benefit.”  Sounds all too familiar doesn’t it?  Rudy is put in front of a judge to argue the case against Jon Voight the showman and high priced attorney for the insurance company. The movie turns into the classic David V. Goliath. Rudy also has a little romance with bruised and battered Claire Danes on the side.   But the real story is the courtroom drama.

I’ve always marveled at the intensity Coppola directed actors have. I never understood it until I watched the behind the scenes making of The Rainmaker. Apparently, Coppola is a huge fan of improv.  Much to the dismay of the studios I imagine. Coppola will halt photography and production of his films while running small improvised scenes with his actors.  Now having been on numerous sets, it costs upward of 2,000 to 4,000 dollars an hour to run a set.  However these practices add wonders to a scene.  There was a time in the film where Voight and Damon walk in the courtroom with an intensity to beat the band. Later, in the behind the scenes, it is revealed that Voight and Damon were told to step outside and have a shoving match. That will raise adrenaline and foster a bit of resentment for the guy who just shoved you into a wall.

This is one of those movies that I will sit and watch at any time, even if it’s being shown on network TV. I’ll endure commercials. Of course if I were to list how many movies I would do that for…I’m amazed that many of them are directed by Coppola.

I’m gonna give this 5 pitchforks. The movie eternally rings true. The very theme will last forever. It’s all about the rich staying rich, and the poor staying poor. Except sometimes, not often they get what’s coming to them.

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Posted on July 22, 2009, in Director Spotlight and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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