RAIN WITHOUT THUNDER
STARRING: Carolyn McCormick, Ali Thomas, Betty Buckley,
Jeff Daniels, Linda Hunt, Graham Greene
1992, 85 Minutes, Directed by: Gary Bennett
you believe that abortion is murder, then it also implies that not only
is the person performing an abortion a murderer, but also the woman having
one. She would be either a murderer or an accomplice to murder. This is
the inflexible logic behind the future America depicted in Rain Without
Thunder, made in 1992, two years after that other feminist cautionary
tale, The Handmaid's Tale.
Rain Without Thunder explores what the implications would be if
fetuses were given the same rights as living human beings. In this case,
a young girl is sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for kidnapping
with intent to commit murder. In other words, she had an abortion in an
overseas country! The film tells its story in the form of a documentary:
there is a journalist going around interviewing all the people involved
in the court case.
far, so clever. But Rain Without Thunder soon begins to suffer
from what many real, often mediocre, documentaries suffer from: it becomes
a series of talking heads, with not a lot of action to sustain dramatic
interest. Disappointing to science fiction fans, no real attempt is also
made to recreate a future world of 2042's fashion or architecture - probably
due to budget constraints.
Frustratingly the movie throws around a lot of interesting ideas without
ever truly developing any of them. (Would it still be abortion if the
fetus can be somehow removed after a few weeks and artificially be allowed
to be born?) While trying to be fair minded on the abortion issue, Rain
Without Thunder also can't escape what it really is, namely a piece
of agitprop for the pro-abortion lobby. It finds itself preaching to the
converted, while it should be trying to do some converting of its own.
"A piece of agitprop for the pro-abortion lobby . . ."
subdued and tasteful one often wishes for Rain Without Thunder to
be more outrageous and provocative. It is ultimately correct in its
assumptions: outlawing abortions will merely result in more back street
abortions, which would be of mortal danger to women from lower income
groups. This while the rich would simply have them in other countries.
Despite its faults, Rain Without Thunder does offer some pure
sci-fi touches, good performances and interesting concepts. If you're
interested in the topic you should try to see it.
Unfortunately it wasted
many opportunities in that it could have been quite good instead of being
ineffectual and ending rather abruptly. It still beats brainless shit
like Fortress 2 hands down though and should
make an excellent double bill along with Harrison
Bergeron - another low budget movie set in a future right-wing America.
(By the way, the movie takes its title from a quote by Frederick Douglass
that goes: "If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess
to favor freedom and yet avoid confrontation are people who want crops
without ploughing up the ground . . . They want rain without thunder and
lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its waters.")