peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2020 12 03 TheRainPeople

The Rain People

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Francis Ford Coppola wrote and directed this immediately prior to The Godfather, and it's a long way from here to there. James Caan and Robert Duvall jostle for Shirley Knight's attention on a road trip from NYC that hits the skids in Nebraska. Caan does not really inhabit the role of a footballer with a debilitating brain injury; Adam Sandler plays vacancy far more persuasively and knowingly. Highway copper Duvall's idea of romance is Neanderthal. The cinematography is washed out.

Roger Ebert at the time. He (post-)ironically observes: "As for Coppola and his world, it's difficult to say whether his film is successful or not. That's the beautiful thing about a lot of the new, experimental American directors, they'd rather do interesting things and make provocative observations than try to outflank John Ford on his way to the Great American Movie." Roger Greenspun went looking for psychological depths for the New York Times.