No special effect can match up to some of the best rain-scenes in films
It's the monsoon season and dark clouds — not to mention eventual downpour — are always minutes away. In other words, the monsoon is officially here, while summer seems to be struggling to move out.
If the ultimate purpose of a movie is to move its audience, then seasons indeed play a key role in achieving that. Filmmakers would, of course, agree, as they depend a lot on the 'light' and 'mood' of a shot.
And it goes without saying that rain — natural or created artificially on the set — not only lends an unforgettable touch to cinematic moments in recent history. hitlist takes you on a tour through some of them. Caution: There might be a few spoilers ahead and you have been appropriately warned.
Director: Sam Raimi
Lowdown: Always expect this sticky superhero to deliver. He might be skinny but he knows the art of saving the world. However, his best moment is when he's hanging upside down from a buildling, with the love of his life facing him, soaked to the skin — the perfect setting for her to slide his mask down and kiss him.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Director: Frank Darabont
Lowdown: To escape from prison, the protagonist crawls through a long sewage tunnel. When he finally emerges, exhausted, he stands up, strips his shirt and throws his arms up at the sky. At that moment, the skies open up in the form of a shower and the prisoner is officially a free man now.
Director: David Fincher
Lowdown: The rains play an important role in this psychological thriller, except in the climax where the sun shines through. In one particular memorable scene, Brad Pitt's character, who is held at gunpoint by the crazy villain, is drenched by rain. The villian, in a suprising move, lets him go.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Lowdown: It's almost impossible to think of a war film in American cinema that is bereft of rainfall. In this spectacular film, rain almost serves the purpose of a messenger of death. Mud splattered bodies — both dead and alive — dominate the movie.
American Beauty (1999)
Director: Sam Mendes
Lowdown: It's pouring heavily and moments of truth are awaiting some characters in this profound film. With love and misplaced sexuality being the central theme, somebody is going to be heartbroken. Someone will learn a few lessons in life, while the other will be hit with a bullet.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Lowdown: In the year 1999, it rained frogs, mind you, not cats and dogs. Not in the world, of course, but in the fabulous movie, Magnolia. With strong biblical references in place, the scene in question had more to do with the collective epiphanies experienced by all the characters in the film than anything else.
Cast Away (2000)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Lowdown: If it wasn't for that fateful stormy night, FedEx employee (Tom Hanks) wouldn't have been stranded on an island for four years. Life comes a full circle for him when he returns to meet his ex-fiancée who is now happily married. Oh, did we mention a kiss in the rain?
Director: Manoj Night Shyamalan
Lowdown: There's something about a humane superhero who never falls ill and goes around wearing a raincoat-like attire. Appropriately enough, Bruce Willis' character is wading through rain through most part of the film, especially after discovering that he's not really a normal chap.
Road to Perdition (2002)
Director: Sam Mendes
Lowdown: Call it the director's fascination with climactic rain sequences but in this crime drama too, the final scene has a classic twist. And it's impossible to see that happening without some intervention from heaven. Safe to say that the road to perdition experiences heavy showers, too!
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Lowdown: Here, a guy with extraordinary mind power is pitted against devices he might fail to fathom but will fight nonetheless. The rain is already in order even before the battle takes place. Some of the sharpest martial arts action scenes — splashing water everywhere — ensue.
Memories of Murder (2003)
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Lowdown: As raw as any respectable Korean film can get these days, this one has two detectives at their wits' end. They can't break the case on hand and for some reason, rain is a constant not-so-silent companion — especially during the hopeless final scene involving a train in the proverbial tunnel.
The Notebook (2004)
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Lowdown: The reason why Ryan Gosling is a global heartthrob can be traced back to this memorable film. If not, then to the rainfall during which his character meets his lover again. The dialogues preceding the passionate moments between the two are equally captivating. But then, some things are best left... err... smooched. With water sliding down their faces, they convey the rest of their feelings for each other.
A Bittersweet Life (2005)
Director: Kim Jee-woon
Lowdown: Our hero has fallen for a girl who happens to be his boss' mistress. So the bad guy goes on a rampage to teach the good guy some lessons in ethics. Burying him alive while it's raining being one of them. Fortunately, he crawls his way out. Unfortunately, his suffering doesn't end there.
Take Shelter (2011)
Director: Jeff Nichols
Lowdown: His worst fear is about to come true. And it's just a matter of time before the clouds shape up, forcing him to retreat with his family into the apocalyptic bunker. But there's a twist in the tale there: What if it rains as usual, but what you feel on your face is not water?
Life of Pi (2012)
Director: Ang Lee
Lowdown: Rain and this visual masterpiece go hand in hand. Water is pretty much all over the place — quite literally. But the scene that stands out is when Pi finally accepts his fate with a tiger on the boat and even the lightning in the background isn't able to take that away from him.
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Lowdown: Hydrophobia is the last thing on the menu in this epic film. Clearly based on Bible's depiction of what must have happened with Noah and his fabled ark, rain adds to the existing tension and uncertainty. The non-stop rain leaves a beautiful liquid mess to behold.
Cinema's infatuation with rainfall has a history of its own and there have been films that made the most of this wordless relationship. Here's listing out a few from the classics.
Humphrey Bogart holds Ingrid Bergman's handwritten note, which the rainwater gently smudges away. Only their climactic kiss can compensate for it.
They call Akira Kurosawa a cinematic maestro for a reason. The use of rainwater has never been captured before — or since — so aesthetically as in this film.
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Like the title itself suggests, it's all about rain. All one has to do is check out Gene Kelly's drenched performance to understand the filmi magic of rain.
Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961)
Audrey Hepburn's character is about to abandon love. It's raining heavily and she decides to get out of the cab and set things right — and she does it in style.
Cape Fear (1962)
The storm in this film's climax served as inspiration to several forthcoming movies, effectively marrying rain to the fight sequence (with the hero winning) at the end of the film.
Taxi Driver (1976)
Travis Bickle keeps praying for rain that will "wash away the scum" from the streets. Although all his prayers go unanswered, he does his bit for a change during a drizzle.