As a lawyer, Rudy proves to be more and more skilled and astute day after dayor, but never, unlike his opponent Drummund, he breaks the rules, rather bending them, pushing himself to the limit but never beyond. Coppola, however, in him more than a symbol of perfection, he decided to show any man, determined to do his best for others without being a saint, but on the contrary full of very human defects which, however, made him even more powerful for this. The aforementioned Drummond, moved by a Mephistophelean Jon Voight, by the protagonist’s own admission, more than an enemy or an adversary, he represents a possible future that awaits himwhen he decides to be totally in line with the system and its materialistic values. And it should be clarified that the system does not simply refer to the American judicial or health system, but of the ruthless individualism that permeated the American society of those yearsback from the Reaganite and yuppie decade, and which through new ways has returned to dominate the 21st century with slogans under the banner of greed.
Just think of the Covid-19 pandemicas far as he has shown us the total breakdown of their (and our) healthcare system, who believed and we believed to be perfect, and instead the concept of extreme privatization has led it towards total decay. But a toxic and ruthless creed, fanatically classist and individualistic, also makes its way into this film: the poorest, the most marginalized and the weakest are a burden to societyindeed it is a chicken to be plucked by virtue of a hatred that Coppola’s film makes palpable in the various executives that Baylor interrogates, in the false modesty of the CEO Wilfred Keeley (Roy Scheider) perhaps the true, authentic and ruthless monster of all history. Men like him are back in fashionparadoxically they have a grip on their storytelling at those less wealthy classes that Coppola’s film paid homage to in their ability to resist painof humiliation which, however, never stripped them, as in the case of the Blake family, of their dignity.
Between gender violence and a crisis of values
The Rain Man 25 years ago however, in addition to breaking our hearts with the story of an agony that could have been avoided, of a scam not so different from those that this year too were denounced on the front page of newspapers such as the New York Times or the Washington Post, pushed the boundaries of legal drama. This is thanks to Kelly’s characterwhich thanks to a very good Claire Danes is still today one of the most realistic representations that cinema has ever given us what it means to be a victim of domestic violencedefenseless and with no way out. Gender-based violence was inside her blue eyes, the swellings and fractures that her husband inflicted on her, and it should be emphasized that in the end, Coppola also took it upon himself to talk to us about how the system has limits that do not allow everyone to get justice.
Claire eventually, in order not to be slaughtered by her husband, would have killed himalmost using Rudy Baylor in a certain sense, moved by total desperation.
Even today, in fact, just open the front pages of our country’s newspapers to understand how helpless a woman is still in the face of such a scenario. The terrible scourge of humiliation inflicted on the female sex also emerged in another absolutely interesting character: the Jackie Lemanczyk of Virginia Madsen. A former Great Benefit employee, he became Rudy and Deck’s trump card at the end of the trial, thanks to confidential information on the illegalities committed by Great Benefit. In parallel, his testimony would have revealed a repulsive scenario, in which the woman had been constantly humiliated, harassed, finally forced to give sexual services to her superiors, in order to save her career. Think about it, it was only a short time ago we were all amazed by the Metoo movement, to uncover an infernal cauldron made of abuse, machismo, something that persists away from the spotlight in our society. Here then is that Coppola wisely, also thanks to the character of a histone Danny De Vitohe suggested the existing dilemma on the difference between law and justiceabout how often one seems to cage the other.
The Rain Man so it was simply not one of the best legal drama of that decade, not only served to raise the curtain on the vulnerabilities of Western society among the general public, one that claimed to be perfect and progressive, and instead soon would have had to face a sad reality: it had failed to eliminate injustices and imbalances within it, he had only swept them under the rug. That film, 25 years ago, above all warned us about how much iThe most ruthless capitalism in the end, had returned to shape the superstructures of our society, allowing those who could pay the best lawyers to get away with it. Well…almost always frank, until the Rudy Baylor on duty gets in the way. Something that emerged in Billy Ray’s heartbreaking final monologuekilled more than by his illness, by the ruthlessness of the neo-capitalist model, which does not look anyone in the face. We know this well because with each passing day, its grip destroys our quality of life and the very concept of a solidary society.