Sunday, February 19, 2006

Rain Man

Mercury Rising was not a great movie..... sorry. But, it's precursor, Rain Man is a wonderful movie. At least, I think they're related. Both movies deal with autistic savantes, who perform mental tasks that the average human being would find impossible.
Rain Man is great. I mean, Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. It doesn't get much better. My only issue with the casting was that the love interest, Susana (Valeria Golino). Unfortunately the only other movies I can remember seeing her in are Hot Shots, and Hot Shot Part Deux. So, I had a lot of trouble taking her seriously.
But, apart from that, I really enjoyed the movie. Dustin Hoffman pulled off the part of savante very well. The scene towards the end of the movie when he bangs his head against the door, as the fire alarm goes off, is extremely uncomfortable. The way his eyes stay unfocused, and his recitation of "Who's on first" are both very convincing. I wasn't sure if all of his behavior fit. There are times when he appears too lucid or "with it". And he becomes very comfortable with being embraced in the "hearing" at the end. I also wasn't sure why he would remember certain things about Cruise's childhood, and be able to articulate his memories, but be so unable to talk about other mundane issues.
Cruise's character also showed drastic behavior changes throughout the film. He starts off being entirely self centered, quiet, greedy, and unfeeling towards his "brother". He ends the film being sensitive and loving. He goes out of his way to cater for his brother, have him treated with respect, and ensure he is taken care of. For the most part this transition is believable. AS Charlie points out, he spends 7 days on the road with Raymond, and learns to love him. I was definitely pulling for him to win custody at the end of the movie, whereas, at the beginning I thought he was a greedy, selfish jerk.
Another question I couldn't help but ask is, Why didn't they just take a train across country? And, why would Raymond be more comfortable with cars or trains, than with airplanes. As Charlie says, flight is the safest mode of transport. Surely, Raymond would know that.
Not sure why Susana popped in and out. She just kind of showed up in Las Vegas. Would she really be able to track them down that easily? Would she really want to find Charlie? And the elevator scene seemed a little forced, too.
So, after I've picked the movie apart, I still think it was darn good. 4 stars.


Vladigogo said...

And how was Hoffman as an autistic man vs. Hoffman as a woman?

An interesting choice to watch since it is the week we watch Tootsie.

I used this film last year for Ethical Egoism, but what Tom Cruise film isn't about ethical egoism, but I think you could also use it for the ethics of care.

Brian said...

I'd only seen parts of this movie before, so I decided to watch the whole thing, and I think it was worth it. Both Cruise and Hoffman were very believable in their roles and the character development didn't seem forced or unrealistic. I couldn't help but notice that Charlie (Cruise's character) embodied the entire 80's message about money at first--do whatever it takes to become someone important and get rich. I was a little shocked at the lengths he'd take to do this--basically kidnapping his brother to get a share of his dad's fortune, and then taking his brother to Vegas to have him count cards (though I have seen the later scene spoofed on an episode of Spin City, so I was expecting that part).

I agree with the original poster here, Susanna randomly showing up ocassionally was kinda wierd. And yes, Mercury Rising was a terrible movie.

I definitely prefer Hoffman as an autistic man over him as a woman, probably because I really didn't like Tootise. Also, Rain Man was more interesting and believable.

Overall, I'd recommend this movie to anyone looking for something entertaining to do for two hours or so.