Sight and Sound - 04/01/1998
"...The film's visual solemnity is undercut by a healthy streak of cynicism, and at times -- a rare thing for Coppola -- it's even funny?"
USA Today - 05/29/1998
"...[Voight] steals the show...with one of the most enjoyable performances of his career..."
New York Times - 11/21/1997
"...A parade of colorful performances from a constantly surprising cast....Mr. Coppola's best and sharpest film in years..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 11/21/1997
"...[Coppola] has made the most of Grisham's ground-level realism....DeVito's role is in the fading tradition of the star character actor..."
Ultimate DVD - 08/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "Razor sharp, with some great performances, this is as entertaining as it is intelligent."
John Grisham's novel comes to life in Francis Ford Coppola's courtroom drama pitting the little guy against a large corporation. Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon), an inexperienced Memphis lawyer, and his legal sidekick, Deck Schifflet (Danny DeVito), defend a leukemia victim against an insurance company and its hotshot lawyer Leo Drummond (Jon Voight). Along the way Rudy befriends an abused woman (Claire Danes), helping her escape her husband (Andrew Shue). The courtroom scenes between Damon and Voight are the highlight of this legal yarn as Rudy learns the tough price of being a good lawyer.
John Grisham's THE RAINMAKER is adapted to film in this suspenseful retelling by Francis Ford Coppola. In Memphis, struggling young attorney Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon) joins a shady law firm headed by Bruiser Stone (Mickey Rourke). After the firm comes under investigation, Rudy and fellow employee Deck Schifflet (Danny DeVito) start their own practice. While trying to dig up clients, Rudy meets a young spousal abuse victim, Kelly Riker (Claire Danes), and convinces her to leave her husband (Andrew Shue). But Rudy's biggest case is defending a young man (Johnny Whitworth) dying of leukemia and his mother (Mary Kay Place) against the insurance company who wrongfully denied their claim. Rudy and Deck find that their opposing lawyers, led by Leo Drummond (Jon Voight), have bugged their offices. Despite his inexperience, Rudy cleverly manages to get an undesirable juror (musician Randy Travis in a cameo role) removed from the jury. During testimony Rudy uncovers proof that the insurance company has a practice of denying all claims. As his relationship with Kelly takes a dangerous turn and the trial uncovers more insurance fraud, it seems Rudy must decide between being a good man or being a good lawyer.
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