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Film / Hard Rain

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Hard Rain is a 1998 film (with action, crime, and disaster elements) directed by Mikael Salomon, starring Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, Randy Quaid, Minnie Driver, Edward Asner and Betty White. It's about an armored car robbery which takes place in a Midwestern U.S. town that's rapidly flooding due to an unrelenting, torrential rainstorm.

Not to be confused with Heavy Rain, the campaign from Left 4 Dead 2, or the Bob Dylan song and album.

Hard Rain provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Phil. He's really not a bad guy, and he gets fatally wounded by another villain for being unwilling to shoot Tom. The bullets don't quite kill Phil, though; he gets finished off by a later surge of water. When he sees it coming, Phil clings to a Bible in his last moments.
    • Also Kenny, who dies horribly trying to impress surrogate-father figure Jim.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • Kenny isn't really malicious and just wants to impress his Parental Substitute Jim.
    • Jim may be a ruthless thief, but he's quite friendly and has a sense of honor almost despite himself.]]
    • Phil goes along with the other cops' Face–Heel Turn, but he's too kind to really be a threat and is remorseful about his actions. His death is played rather tragically as well.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...:
    Tom: I hid the money in the cemetery. Tied it to some crypt named "Portman".
    Wayne: Why did you do that?
    Tom: I don't really like to carry around that much cash, you know?
  • As the Good Book Says...: Ray's tendency to quote Bible verses. Jim even asks him for "inspiration" at one point. It leads to a rather amusing line later:
    Ray: We'd go down to the river, and into the river we'd dive. (the others give him confused looks) Springsteen, "The River". What? I'm all out of Bible verses.
  • Attempted Rape: The deputy tries to rape Karen after the sheriff makes it clear that there could be no witnesses.
  • Battle in the Rain: Every single fight in this movie, obviously.
  • Bear Trap: Tom and Karen nearly step into a pair of them.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Jim, following the Sheriff usurping him of his Big Bad status.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Most of the film does this, but there's an aversion of this trope during the cemetary shootout. And also averted with Mike Collins, when he dies in the final battle.
  • Boring, but Practical: When Jim's crew decides to steal a boat to pursue Tom, one suggests they take a large speedboat. Jim points out that a simple 10-foot bass boat is all they need, particularly given the vessel's shallow draft in the still low flood waters. His crew also steals two jetskis; their greater speed and maneuverability being a rare case of awesome AND practical.
    • While searching the flooded school, believing Tom hid the money there, Mr. Mehlor is blasting open lockers with a shotgun until Jim tells him not to waste ammo and hands him a fire axe.
  • Broken Pedestal: We find out much later in the movie that Charlie was involved in the original plot to take the money. Tom doesn't take the news well.
  • Caper Crew: Jim is the Mastermind, Mr. Mehlor is the Gadget Guy, Ray is the Muscle, Charlie is the Inside Man. Kenny seems to think he's the Fixer, but he's actually the Load.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: Ray is about to shoot Tom when he's struck down by a bullet. It's the Sheriff, who promptly starts gunning for the two remaining robbers. However, he's doing it because he's taking the money instead, meaning he's also there to kill Tom.
  • Cassandra Truth: Discussed - The Deputy is very suspicious of Tom's story, that he's an armored transport driver who narrowly escaped a hijacking. He asks if the Sheriff believes Tom and the Sheriff replies that he does, but would still be obligated to check it out, even if he didn't.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Four. The propane tank, the mounted cavalry statue, Karen's Swiss Army Knife, and an actual gun, in the Sheriff's ankle holster. There's also one from before the movie started: When the sheriff is insisting that Hank come help him, he reminds Hank that he had to officially deputize Hank one time, so "When I say come down here and help, I'm not asking — I'm ordering you!"
  • Corrupt Cop / Dirty Cop: The Sheriff and Wayne definitely count. The Sheriff starts out good but switches out due to having been an Extreme Doormat for so long. Wayne, on the other hand, is portrayed as having less than moral tendencies from the start and the disaster, along with his leader's shift in loyalties simply give him an outlet.
  • Dead Hat Shot: Mr. Mehlor's shattered glasses settle on top of a tombstone after he suffers a Moe Greene Special.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: After being electrocuted, Kenny is being held and watched over by his father figure, Jim. Jim tells Kenny he'll be all right; Kenny even says the pain is starting to go away, and then...
  • Drowning Pit
    • Tom in his jail cell.
    • Karen in her house.
  • Enemy Mine: Tom and Jim end up working together temporarily when a third party wants to steal the money and kill them.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The mayor uses the sheriff's name one time at the start of the movie. The rest of the time, everyone else just refers to him as "Sheriff".
  • Extreme Doormat: The sheriff. At the beginning of the movie, he's helping direct the evacuation of the town, which is normal for law enforcement. Then we find out he lost the election and once the emergency is over, he's out of a job. The mayor even calls him out on it, wondering why he's sticking around to help after what happened. One of his deputies suggests getting revenge on the mayor and blaming it on looters; the Sheriff declines and continues to help with the evacuation, then continues to stay and do his job long after almost everyone is gone.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Takes place over the course of a few hours.
  • Eye Scream: Mr. Mehlor. We hear the shot, see his glasses break, and hear his agonized scream as blood jets from his eye socket. Then, just to drive the point home, the movie shows his broken glasses sinking and settling atop a headstone.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The sheriff. While wanting the money might be understandable due to his circumstances, it's what he'll have to do to get it that makes him a real Heel. The original gang of robbers didn't want to go that far; they explicitly told the truck guards, "We just want the money! You guys walk away, we won't kill you!"
  • Floating Head Syndrome: Some of the later posters and the DVD box art. It's a shame, too; the original poster was at least kind of interesting.
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: Occurs when the dam finally crumbles under the stress.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: Respectively, Tom, Jim and the sheriff.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Subverted. Kenny gets very badly hurt from his electrocution, and though it does seem at first like he's going to survive it, he later dies.
  • Henpecked Husband: Henry is one to Doreen. The moment were he finally decides he has had enough and puts her in her place with a Precision F-Strike is a Funny Moment.
  • Hostile Weather: The flooding rain does not let up for the entire film.
  • Human Shield: Jim uses Tom as one. It doesn't work, since the sheriff has decided to keep the money, which means he needs both of them dead, anyway.
  • Inner City School: Briefly implied, when Mr. Mehlor's homemade bombs are introduced.
    Ray: You teach your students how to make stuff like that?
    Mehlor: Have you been to high school lately, Ray? My students taught me how to make stuff like this.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: The sheriff. While it's not done in front of his superiors, the "Screw this, I'm not working here anymore" mentality is still quite obviously there.
  • It's Personal: Implied-the look on Jim's face when Kenny dies in Jim's arms has this written all over it and it's pretty telling that it's almost immediately after this point when he drops his Affably Evil act and threatens to shoot Tom whether he finds the money or not.
  • Lawman Gone Bad: Sheriff Mike Collins does this.
  • Logo Joke: The familiar Paramount logo of a mountain is seen. Then the sky over the mountain clouds up and the rain starts falling.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: Karen loses both of hers to the flood at some point.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Charlie, to Tom. Although it was an accident.
  • The Millstone: Kenny is this and The Load to the other robbers, with Jim constantly having to keep him in line and snapping at him to "quit whining" when he finally gets fed up with his underling. That said, Jim doesn't particularly take it well when Tom causes Kenny to get fatally electrocuted.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Phil, again. The only reason he's with the bad guys is that he couldn't bring himself to shoot one of them.
  • Moe Greene Special: Mr. Mehlor; see Eye Scream above
  • Never My Fault: Jim blames Kenny for fouling up their first attempt to rob the armored truck by getting trigger happy and killing Charlie. Later, we find out that the reason this even happened was because Jim didn't tell Kenny that Charlie was in on the heist.
  • Only in It for the Money: Morgan Freeman's character, Jim, says this almost word-for-word several times in the film. Even in the end, when Tom thinks Jim helped save his life:
    Jim: You just don't get it, do you? (he grabs the money bags and puts them in his boat)
  • Parental Substitute: Jim promised Kenny's father he'd look after Kenny. Jim didn't do such a great job of it.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Jim's decision to not fill Kenny in about Charlie being in on the heist leads to Kenny shooting Charlie. Consequently, it also causes all of the thieves' trouble with having to chase down Tom for the money, which ultimately leads to everyone in Jim's band but himself getting killed.
  • Precision F-Strike: Cool old man Henry gives one to Doreen, his constantly nagging wife. They are escaping from bad guys and she keeps telling him to go faster, he rows back towards the criminals and this exchange happens:
    Doreen: What are you doing?
    Henry: I'm gonna row back there and see if he will shoot you...or me it's fine either way
    Doreen: Henry!
    Henry: Do you want me to get us out of here?
    Doreen: Yes of course!
    Henry: Then shut the fuck up!
  • Red Alert: The dam has one, complete with flashing red lights and extremely loud warning buzzer. By the time it happens in the movie, it's too late for anyone to do anything about it.
  • Rescue Romance: Karen and Tom.
  • Rising Water, Rising Tension: Tom plays cat and mouse with gang of robbers and a pack of Dirty Cops to secure $3 million in stolen cash hidden in a town that is slowly disappearing beneath flood waters.
  • Save the Villain: Attempted. Tom and Karen try to get Kenny to jump to the windowsill from the metal scaffolding he’s on in order to avoid getting electrocuted by the rising water touching a live transformer. He realizes that staying on it is a stupid idea only too late.
  • Something Only They Would Say: A variation. At first, Tom refuses to believe Jim's claims that Charlie was working with them all along until Tom throws in scores of details on Charlie's life from how he got his middle name to his late wife.
  • Spanner in the Works: Tom (and later the Sheriff) to Jim's plans.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Tom and Karen climb out of the water when they see the rising flood is about to touch a power line. They quickly realize they climbed on a metal scaffold, and find a better ledge. Kenny, one of the criminals, also climbs out — but doesn't realize the scaffold is metal until it's too late.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Jim's original plan to snatch the cash from the armored car without having to kill anyone was simple. However, Tom has caused him so much trouble that Jim, who's been portrayed as cool, calm, and calculating, finally decides he's fed up:
    Jim: (pointing a gun at Tom) Before you start jerking me around again, consider this: I've had a very frustrating night. While I may not find that money if I kill you, I'm at the point now where I just... don't... care.
  • Wham Line: "Okay."
    • "They're not coming, Tom. The National Guard...We didn't "intercept" Charlie's call. He called us."
  • With Us or Against Us: The sheriff gives Phil one. To be fair, it's not really a False Dichotomy in this instance, as Phil is a cop, and if he doesn't try to arrest or kill the bad guys, he's an accomplice.