Rain Man Blu-ray Review: Irresistibly Good

For years, I had made references to Rain Man or had people make references to the movie because of how quickly I can resolve select math problems in my head. And yet, I had never seen the movie in its entirety. In fact, I think the most I had ever seen of the movie was brief clips featured in a montage. Now that I’ve finally seen the movie, I can, without a doubt, say Rain Man certainly deserves the praise and accolades it has received over the years.

If Rain Man had been directed by anyone other than Barry Levinson, it would feel more saccharine and phonier. Heck, even if it were made today, it might get labeled as “offensive” by some of the derogatory language used in the film. But Levinson’s sincere approach, along with two out-of-the-park performances in Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, make this a genuinely feel-good movie that is surprisingly funnier than expected.

Charlie Babbitt (Cruise) is a car dealer in Los Angeles who makes a lot of promises but can hardly keep them. His business is hanging on by a thread, and those to whom he owes money are coming after him nonstop. When Charlie hears of his estranged father passing away, he brushes it off. But then he hears of a $3 million inheritance that went to a mental institution in Cincinnati, Ohio. Charlie, who is always more focused on money than on his human relationships, seeks to find out why the inheritance didn’t go to him.

While investigating, Charlie finds out the reason why the money went to a mental institution is that his brother Raymond (Hoffman), whom he never knew existed, resides there. Raymond is a high-functioning autistic savant who follows a strict schedule for everything – including bedtime and when his favorite television shows are on. After he unsuccessfully tries to convince the doctors to surrender the money, Charlie then attempts to adopt Raymond. Or, as most people in the movie view it, he kidnaps Raymond and takes him on a road trip.

There’s a terrific bond between Charlie and Raymond that comes alive in the respective performances of Cruise and Hoffman. While Charlie is the more brash and unapologetic type who demands he get his way, Raymond is the innocent one who’s unaware of how he acts and yet grounds Charlie back to reality. It’s a clash of emotions, but also one with a powerful message behind it. Neither overplays their parts, and we’re left with a fantastic bond between the two brothers.

Hoffman is especially good as Raymond, who experiences some things that are new to him. When a woman kisses him for the first time, he describes it as “wet.” Most of his answers are “yeah,” to which Charlie will humorously counter with it being to a previous question if it doesn’t work in his favor.

Levinson’s directing is top-notch here, capturing some magnificent scenery of the places Charlie and Raymond explore, while also providing some excellent tracking shots during certain points of the film. There are some scenes, such as the Vegas interrogation, that almost feel too short. But, in the end, when the credits roll for Rain Man, it’s hard to not smile.

The Blu-ray for Rain Man features an impressive picture transfer, but some of the scenes also look a little too dark. They don’t last for too long, but they are noticeable. The special features are all older featurettes from previous releases, but they are fun to watch for behind-the-scenes discussions.

Rain Man is terrific, from start to finish. I’m not sure why it took so long for me to watch it. But I’m glad the moment finally came. And if you haven’t had the chance to watch it, rectify that soon.

Rain Man is available on 4K UHD and Blu-ray from MVD Marquee Collect

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David Wangberg

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