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 The Weather Man
 Critic's Rating
   [B+]
 Date Posted
   30th January, 2006
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Cast: Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine, Hope Davis
Director: Gore Verbinski

'The Weather man' is not an easy film to explain and that is good thing because this says something about its uniqueness. It employs the services of big name stars (Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine), strong studio backing and a director with a string of popular blockbusters to his credit (Gore Verbinski) but the product is distinctively intimate and takes time to develop itself and really flesh out its offbeat characters. This is probably the best example of a commercial film released with indie aspirations.

At its core, 'The Weather man' is also a message film but the message is conveyed a bit too obviously, almost in a pontificating manner, which is perhaps its only failing. The best indications of this are provided by a string of recurring scenes that become a successful running joke throughout the film about David Spritz (Nicolas Cage), the eponymous Weather man, who becomes the target of random attacks by passer-by's feeling compelled to throw half eaten burgers, shakes et al at the semi celebrity walking down the street. These random segments themselves are amusing, if not hilarious, but they are deconstructed much later in the film in a self scathing monologue by David, for the benefit of the audience - just in case we missed the implied analogy of people perceiving David's television screen time equivalent to junk food.

Such spoon feeding sessions aside, everything else in the film is very well crafted, from the performances of Cage and especially Caine, playing his wise, Pulitzer Prize winning father, to the way the script delivers by not treading a path that provides any easy answers to the many difficult situations. If I haven't described the basic premise, it is because doing so would make the film seem either devoid of a strong subject matter or too simplistic, when it is neither. This is ultimately a collage of personal events in the life of an outwardly ordinary person looking to change and perhaps better the individual components of his life; his failed marriage, his inability to equal the towering accomplishments of his father, his stilted role as a father himself to his troubled children, but most importantly, his mistaken assumption that in life there exists a panacea to all these ailments presented to David in the form of a lucrative job assignment with promise of big monetary returns and the potential of starting over. Almost every subplot of the film earns its worth by being relevant to the main storyline and the choices of the final act really make 'Weather man' worth savouring by any adult who senses familiarity in the desire to set things right. - Faizan Rashid

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