Books Magazine

Throwback Thursday: John Grisham’s The Rainmaker (1997)

By Hippiebookworm @HippieBookworm

the rainmakerRecently I was traveling by plane to my parents’ place up in Ohio. While traveling I like to read in the airport and on the plane before takeoff. But as soon as we can turn on our electronic devices, I like to plug into a movie that will make the 3 hour flight seem like it was 10 mins. Over the years I’ve learned that just because you have your headphones plugged in, doesn’t mean your neighbor isn’t watching the same movie, so I try and find movies that are not full of nudity or obscene gestures that may offend those who don’t have the benefit of hearing how these twists may work into the plot.

This past weekend I chose John Grisham’s The Rainmaker starring Danny DeVito and Matt Damon. A favorite book of mine, I hadn’t actually seen the movie straight through so I thought it would be a good chance for me to see the film version of a classic John Grisham story. Here is my review:

Recent law school graduate Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon) is trying to find his way in the lawyer-rich area of Memphis, TN. He ends up getting a job as an ambulance chaser and is being shown the ropes by law associate Deck Shifflet (Danny DeVito). When the law firm that Baylor is employed by goes out of business due to some legal issues, Baylor and Shifflet open their own law firm and sign over the clients they’ve already been working.

Baylor’s first major case is a lawsuit against a corrupt insurance company who refuses to cover his client’s failing health due to cancer. During the trial Baylor and his partner find themselves involved in jury tampering, witness badgering and a slew of other “grey” practices that are committed by both his team and the opposition.

By the end of the trial, Baylor is completely invested in his client and he’s having a hard time separating personal from professional. His idealistic views of law have been shattered. Baylor may have won his case, but the aftermath is unshakable and he ends up quitting law to teach it in a local university.

This is an all-star cast including Matt Damon (circa Good Will Hunting ), Claire Danes, Jon Voigt and Danny DeVito to name a few. While the competition for an Oscar nod was incredible (Saving Private Ryan, Life is Beautiful, Shakespeare in Love ), DeVito did manage to receive Best Supporting Actor in a Movie Drama by the Satellite Awards and Damon was nominated as Best Actor in a Movie Drama by the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards.

The screenplay for this film is brilliant. I’ve read The Rainmaker 5 times but have only finished it cover to cover 3 times. The style of Grisham is drawn out and detail-oriented and so it’s easy to get lost in the story’s duller moments. The screenplay itself cuts this all away while still maintaining the integrity of the story and its major moments. It’s also brilliant at building the drama. Things start off slow and build until by the end of the movie you can’t wait to hear the verdict.

This is definitely a 5-star movie and a “plane safe” choice for those wanting to watch something while others are looking over your shoulder.

What kind of movies do you watch while flying? Or do you prefer to read?

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog