John Grisham's The Rainmaker comes to the big screen in a big way, with big stars such as the likes of Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Jon Voight, Claire Danes, and Danny Glover. But an all-star cast isn't all that makes The Rainmaker worthwhile; it is an exceptionally well made and well crafted film. And, of course, the story is good because John Grisham wrote it.
The Rainmaker tells of a young lawyer, who hasn't even received his license yet, on his first case, fighting a group of respectable lawyers representing an insurance company that has denied coverage to a boy with leukemia. The plot is simple; there is no magnificent trial with a murderer or anything, and the lawyer (Damon) isn't sure of himself every step of the way. Throughout the first hour of the movie, the story skips around to and from Damon's various cases, including an old woman's will and, more importantly, a young woman's (Danes) abusive husband. Claire Danes' role leans more to the personal side of Damon's conflicts, as he tries to convince her to leave her husband, although it ends up much more brutally.
There's no denying the sensational acting in The Rainmaker. Matt Damon, still up and rising in 1997, delivers a strong performance, and Jon Voight is equally impressive. Danny DeVito always gives a fun and believable performance, adding some extra comedy to the film.
Comedy is what sets this apart from other court dramas. The movie is constantly funny (but still a drama), which will keep both younger and older viewers attentive.
The Rainmaker is a different kind of courtroom drama; it's smaller, subtler, and funnier. And overall, it's a great movie.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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