Three Days of Rain
In Three Days of Rain,
writer/director Michael Meredith adapts six short stories by Anton Chekhov
and updates them to modern Cleveland. It looks at the life of about a
couple dozen locals as they live through a three-day long rainstorm.
This movie sadly has
somehow fallen between the tracks. It was filmed in 2002, but has just
made the festival circuit in 2006 and now is being released on video in
2007. It's not a perfect movie, but it certainly did not deserve that
Three Days of Rain
is an episodic film in the tradition of Crash (though it was actually
filmed before that movie), Robert Altman's Short Cuts or the works of
Wim Wenders (who is instrumental in getting the film a wider release, and
who has been trying to get a movie version of another Meredith script made.)
Unlike those films, though,
there is little in the way of overlapping. (There are occasional hints
of connections, but none of them ever really come to fruition.) Also,
in some ways this film is more of a character piece. Most of the
stories are small and human -- not necessarily overly dramatic.
For example, Peter Falk
plays an aging alcoholic who is constantly trying to patch up his
relationship with his grown son, yet at the same time hitting him up for
money regularly. Erick Avari plays a well-off businessman who
recognizes a previously unnoticed fundamental rift in his relationship with
his wife when she refuses to give a doggie bag to a homeless man. Joey
Bilow plays a mentally challenged worker who is harassed in his job.
Then there is a struggling tile maker (Michael Santoro) who has to collect
some outstanding bills to avoid being evicted from his decrepit loft.
The most dramatic story is about a drug addict (Merle Kennedy) who has to
babysit for her own child who was was taken from her by a judge, who uses
intimidation and sexual abuse to keep her in line.
Surprisingly, this is all
held together by a subtly passionate performance by Don Meredith (yes,
that's right -- Dandy Don, the former football quarterback and Monday Night
Football personality) as a cab-driver trying to come to terms with the death
of his son. Meredith has done very little acting over the years, so it
is particularly surprising that someone would have seen the potential and
picked him for this quietly heartbreaking role -- until you realize that
writer/director Michael Meredith is his son. Well good for Michael for
seeing it, sometimes nepotism really does work.
In fact, the acting here is
almost universally well done and effective (with the exception of one
stilted, affected supporting role -- I won't mention the actress by name,
but watching the movie, you'll know who I mean...). There are lots of
interesting cameos -- Blythe Danner as a woman who feels the selfish need to
take on the pain of the people she meets, Jason Patric as a combative drunk,
cult director George Kuchar as a compassionate newsstand dealer and Lyle
Lovett as the smooth-voiced jazz DJ whose patter connects all the characters
(he is only briefly physically seen at the very end of the film.)
All these people try to
muddle through their hard lives in the rain-soaked streets of Cleveland, a
city which suits the film completely, mixing great splendor with squalor.
Three Days of Rain is not a happy or uplifting film, but in its own
melancholy way it is quite beautiful.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: October 13, 2007