Bad weather has been a serious problem in some parts of our country recently, to put it mildly. My own mother had quite a scare with Hurricane Irma this week. (She came out unscathed, fortunately.) This put us in mind of famous movie scenes involving rain, both in positive and negative contexts.
One of my all-time favorite movies is Frank Darabont’s ‘The Shawshank Redemption‘, based on a novella by Stephen King. One of the scenes that always sticks in my mind is the end of Andy Dufresne’s triumphant escape from prison. We’ve been rooting for this guy the whole time and when he finally exits his hellish nightmare, the rain storm almost serves as a heavenly cleansing for his poor soul, washing away the decades of shit he had to endure. It’s such a great moment in a wonderful film.
I’ll be shocked if at least one of my Roundtable colleagues doesn’t match me this week, but my favorite movie scene involving rainy weather is the famous clock tower sequence from the end of ‘Back to the Future‘, which was such a fun, perfectly edited climax that the creators reimagined it from a different perspective for ‘Back to the Future Part II’.
While I love the use of unbelievably heavy movie rain to set a strong tone in movies, my pick for this Roundtable is one that takes the usage of rain one step farther.
I’m a big fan of J.K. Rowling’s cinematic universe. ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them‘ is a great addition to the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise. The movie actually expands the universe by introducing a different tone and feel. Part of that is due to the new characters and character dynamics. Bringing a giant heart to the spinoff is the addition of a no-maj (non-magical, i.e. “muggle”) character. Dan Fogler introduces us to the lovable aspiring baker Jacob Kowalski. Being along for the entire adventure, we get to see the wizarding world through the same eyes that he would. The bonds that are made between him and the other characters are tender and sweet, but because of what he’s seen, he has to [SPOILER ALERT] have his memory wiped when the tale comes to a close. The cerebral whiteout is accomplished with magical rain that will remove all memory of the magic. The acting, music and writing of this scene elevate it, making it one of my all-time favorite rainy sequences.
M. Enois Duarte
Rain, or water in general, is customarily used as a metaphor for cleansing, rebirth or starting anew. However, in the world of Stephen King, the usual tropes don’t always play according to tradition. In his magnum opus ‘It‘, rain and water seem to function as cleansing and revelation but with sinister, twisted caveats. One of my favorite scenes with rain is the unfortunate death of Georgie. In a story about children struggling with traumatic horrors, rain introduces the otherworldly killer clown to both the audience and an ill-prepared child. The poor kid has his eyes opened to the real world crawling with monsters, and his poor judgment of the nerve-wracking situation leads to his untimely end. In the 1990 TV miniseries, this was done pretty well, mostly due to Tim Curry’s memorable performance, but the new film adaptation is more faithful to the book and far more violent. As much as I love Curry, the latest retelling of that rainy scene is much creepier considering the gross, apprehensive undertones of seeing a grown man in a clown suit seduce an innocent child with false promises.
Focusing on some enjoyable scenes of rain, it was pointed out to me recently that the opening and ending scenes of the original ‘Point Break‘ have a fun symmetry with the characters, and of course the rain. The rainy (overly serious) gun range scene is intercut with surfing scenes. Thinking over it, it does make for a nice bookend for the eventual “50 year storm” scene.
The constant downpour of rain in ‘Blade Runner‘ is so pervasive that it’s practically a character in the film. It seeps into every corner of the frame, setting a gloomy atmosphere of hopelessness and decay.
After more than three hours of setup, Akira Kurosawa’s masterwork ‘Seven Samurai‘ climaxes with a stunning battle in the rain and mud.
On a lighter note, Gene Kelly sure has some fun ‘Singin’ in the Rain‘.
I also need to toss an honorable mention to ‘John Wick‘, solely because the Blu-ray’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack puts the height speakers in my home theater to good use during the final rainy fight scene.
Which memorable movie rain scenes stand out to you? Tell us in the Comments.