If you ever start finding the adventure genre a little too repetitive due to how grand-scale it is, consider its minimalistic counterpart, the ‘road’ genre. Unlike an absolutely extraverted exploration of chaotic events, a road film takes a more peaceful and substance-oriented way. One such road drama that deserves a good amount of praise is director Barry Levinson’s Rain Man. Despite the Oscar win, it’s not really a masterpiece example of the genre, but a good example of what a well-made road drama film should be like.
It’s prominently good in multiple important aspects of filmmaking, it’s an interesting tale, with appreciable direction, complementing cinematography & original score, as well as outstanding performances that relatively elevate the film’s quality. With over thirty years gone since its release, it still remains a classic example of its genre as well as one of the most memorable films of Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.
How to Stream or Download Rain Man
To stream or to download Rain Main from a digital store, click on the Download button located at the end of this review. If you like movies with Tom Cruise check out also our review of Mission Impossible (1996).
The Movie Review
Let’s start with the selling highlight of this film, which is Tom Cruise’s performance as the protagonist Charles “Charlie” Babbitt, a young, highly egocentric wheeler-dealer. He learns of the death of his father, with who he was not very close, and that his father has passed on all of his wealth and property to his other son Raymond (played excellently by Dustin Hoffman), an autistic savant whose existence Charlie had no idea of before. Charlie is in the midst of a deal where some money could be useful, but all he’s left with is his father’s old car.
Things lead to the two brothers meeting, their pasts uncovering, and a metaphor that Charlie is always obsessed with playing out in the shape of Raymond. It’s also a very developing moment for an otherwise person like Charlie to meet an individual who’s even more lacking in emotions than him. Unlike Charlie, who at least feels the need to self-preserve, Raymond is an individual with no emotional agenda.
It’s a film with two very well-written characters, especially with the way they end up developing each other. Levinson’s direction aids the film very well, with the visual storytelling having a fairly prominent role alongside the already well-written dialogue. Every conversation that takes place in the film is interesting and adds to the theme of the film.
Dustin Hoffman’s performance as Raymond takes the film itself to a greater level and is one of the best things about the film. It also features one of Tom Cruise’s best performances of all time, which is nothing generally extraordinary but supports the idea that the well-polished characterization of the film did get the best out of its actors. The most praiseworthy aspect of the screenplay is how it manages to manifest Charlie’s idea of a ‘rain man’ in Raymond, as the rain man-ship of Raymond manifests in any prominent scene.
Unlike most other drama films (even among classics), Rain Man is a technically commendable film as well. On top of the subtle visual storytelling comes John Seale’s prominent cinematography, which while isn’t extraordinary, adds more pros to the film’s profile.
This was also among Hans Zimmer’s earliest works as a composer, as well as his first-ever Oscar nomination. He’s a masterclass composer, and considering all the work he’s done as of now, his score for Rain Man doesn’t come close to the top tier, but for a road drama film, it’s excellent. The way Rain Man had things going positively in almost every aspect makes its Oscar win understandable. Acting, direction, music, writing, it had everything going in favor of itself.
Rain Man is one of the essential 80s classic road drama films. It’s not really as much of a must-watch as it is a film that’s worth watching once. A bunch of films that were deemed good a few decades ago ended up aging badly, but that does not happen in Rain Man’s case. Its filmmaking, performances, and technicality, all remain timelessly good.