Thursday, 29 September 2011

Rain Man

UK Release: 3rd March 1989
Watched on TV: Wednesday 28th September 2011
Rating: 15
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 2hrs 13mins
IMDb Plot Summary: Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his autistic brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.

Mild Spoilers!
My Review: Winning the Best Picture Oscar in 1989 as well as Best Director, Best Screenplay and (100% deservedly) Best Actor in Leading Role for Dustin Hoffman, Rain Man is in IMDb’s Top 250 movies of all time (currently at number 245) and you can see why. Rain Man is incredibly moving and is centred around the stand out performances of its two leads - Hoffman and Tom Cruise. It is, in my opinion, Cruise’s performance of his career; I’m not a huge fan of his other work though it has to be said. Yet Hoffman and Cruise have a fantastic chemistry and a wonderfully believable relationship, making the film a very personal film of how Charlie’s life is changed forever when his father dies. He fully expects to be lived millions of dollars in inheritance but when he finds out where it’s really gone - a special hospital that cares for autistic people among others - he soon finds out that he has an autistic brother that no one has ever told him about, least of all his uncaring father. Frustrated that his inheritance has been left with a brother who has no concept of money, he ‘kidnaps’ him and takes him on the road in the hope that the hospital will give him his money in return for the return of Raymond. However, things aren’t that simple. He finds that Raymond is more than a handful as he has many routines that need to be fulfilled, such as watching particular tv shows as they air, sleeping near a window, and eating and going to bed at specific times, that don’t exactly mix with Charlie’s life. He becomes more and more frustrated with him, all the while getting to know how clever and special Raymond really is. He takes him to Vegas and they ‘count cards’ and dance and they grow closer and closer. Charlie decided to try and get custody of Ray, but determining what Ray really wants isn’t as easy as it seems. 
The film may be predictable - the selfish unlikeable lead changes remarkably into a caring brother - but it is all the while funny, realistic and moving.
The Hans Zimmer score provides an intimate backdrop for the film and the American roads are beautifully shot. However, it was a little too long for my liking and the ending not how I would have liked, although I understand why they decided to end it there - any further and it would have gotten cheesy, plus the film is more focused on Cruise’s development and journey to become a better person than any actual conclusion. But on the whole it was a brilliant film; a quality way to spend 2 and a quarter hours...
Score: 8/10

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