The makers of Heavy Rain say their aims with the film are to portray “the hard hitting realities of a troubled relationship” and to ask “whether any crime can be justified.”
In terms of the former, writer/director Sebastian Harris does well to show how, when ending a turbulent relationship, closing it out is sometimes not enough – you also want satisfaction for all the pain that’s been caused.
As for the crime, the film’s antagonist, James (Ben Higgins) is undeniably a combative spouse, uncaring and withholding of affection. With his screen time at a minimum, though, it’s worth wondering whether or not he is entirely deserving of his fate.
The film opens on his wife, Amy (Devora Wilde), seemingly in distress. Addressing the camera, she tells how her husband has been neglectful of her all through their marriage, and is being unfaithful – a revelation she plans on exposing while the couple are visiting family for Christmas.
Aside from the thought that the two look a bit young to be five years married, and somewhat stilted dialogue, Heavy Rain’s fourth wall breaks, while normally a contrivance, here work well.
Wilde’s delivery draws you into the story, and her soliloquies take the edge off the film while avoiding an expository feel and make for a more human and relatable story.
Another big plus for Heavy Rain is the work of cinematographer Jacob Dear. This film looks great, every shot is well designed and photographed perfectly. Not working quite so well is George Lisham’s Hans Zimmer-inspired score, which at times suffocates the film.
For a while it’s not clear where the film is going, but eventually comes full-circle with a clever, well-constructed ending. Again, it’s questionable whether it’s a deserved ending, but it’s unexpected and works as part of the narrative.
While not without its faults or breaking any new ground, Heavy Rain is a well-made, well-structured film that keeps hold of your attention throughout.