John Grisham's The Rainmaker

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Drama

What's the difference between a lawyer and a catfish? (They're both scum-sucking bottom feeders, but one makes a nice fritter.) Lawyers love lawyer jokes, says idealistic, newly minted Memphis attorney Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon). Some more than others: Rudy's first boss, the flamboyantly sleazy Bruiser Stone (Mickey Rourke) has a decorative tank of sharks...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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What's the difference between a lawyer and a catfish? (They're both scum-sucking bottom feeders, but one makes a nice fritter.) Lawyers love lawyer jokes, says idealistic, newly minted Memphis attorney Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon). Some more than

others: Rudy's first boss, the flamboyantly sleazy Bruiser Stone (Mickey Rourke) has a decorative tank of sharks behind his desk. (Why don't sharks eat lawyers? Professional courtesy.) Right before the FBI shuts down Bruiser's office for improprieties too numerous to mention, young Rudy and

coworker Deck Schifflet (Danny De Vito), who's failed the bar exam six times and bears no resemblance to JFK Jr., skedaddle and form their own firm. Their one big case: A lawsuit against the Great Benefit insurance company on behalf of the family of Donny Ray Black (Johnny Whitworth), who died

because his parents (Mary Kay Place, Red West) couldn't afford to pay for a bone marrow transplant. Baylor and Schifflet are totally outgunned by Great Benefit's phalanx of $1,000-an-hour lawyers, led by sleek, high-rent shyster Leo F. Drummond (Jon Voight). (What's the difference between a lawyer

and a hooker? Hookers stop screwing you after you're dead.) If you've seen CLASS ACTION or THE VERDICT, the courtroom theatrics will feel very familiar, but Francis Ford Coppola has turned John Grisham's pulpy bestseller into surprisingly creditable -- if morally muddled -- movie. It does after

all, try to argue simultaneously that it's OK to lie for your clients if you love them, but it's not OK to lie for your clients if they're paying you the big bucks. This is no GODFATHER, a dark, enduring masterpiece fashioned out of a trashy gangster novel. But it's light years away from the

yahoo-ism of A TIME TO KILL.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: What's the difference between a lawyer and a catfish? (They're both scum-sucking bottom feeders, but one makes a nice fritter.) Lawyers love lawyer jokes, says idealistic, newly minted Memphis attorney Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon). Some more than others: Rudy… (more)

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