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The Rainmaker


John Grisham books are like delicious comfort food. You always know what you are going to get, they rarely disappoint and they're reliable entertainment.

The film adaptions of Grisham are less reliable, but THE RAINMAKER is comfort food made by a five star chef, in this case Francis Ford Coppola.

Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now) also wrote the screenplay, with great results.

Matt Damon stars as young law student Rudy Baylor, barely out of school, ready to take the bar exam and carrying an underdog case against a massive insurance company in his briefcase.

Rudy falls in with strip mall lawyer Bruiser Stone (Mickey Rourke) and his loyal assistant deck (Danny DeVito). They begin to work on the case against a huge insurance company that has denied the claims of a low income couple whose teenage son is dying of leukemia.

The deeper Rudy digs, the more outraged he becomes.

Bruiser forces Rudy to moonlight ambulance chasing at hospitals, where Rudy meets a young bride suffering constant abuse at the hands of her volatile husband. Claire Danes plays Kelly Riker perfectly, trapped in her life but longing for an escape.

Coppola spins many plot points at once perfectly, keeping them all clear and moving thanks to superb narration written by his "Apocalypse" narration writer Michael Herr.

The final half of the film is a terrific courtroom confrontation between Rudy & Deck and the insurance lawyers, led by the perfectly oily Leo Drummond (Jon Voight).

The supporting cast is amazing. Roy Scheider is the Insurance company President, Mary Kay Place is the ill young man's mother, Dean Stockwell is a judge with deep loyalties to big business and Danny Glover is a caring judge fairly guiding Rudy through his first court experience.

Virginia Madsen also stands out as a former insurance company employee with plenty of stories to tell (if Rudy can find her).

Like Grisham's book of the same name, its fast moving, suspenseful and well crafted popcorn drama, perfectly popped under Coppola's hand.

Need some movie comfort food?

Look up THE RAINMAKER. Our verdict? It gets an A.

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