A Changing World
When Gus was 16 (Brian Dennehy - Cocoon: The Return) he went off to war and returned a decorated hero offered a job at the local plant by the owner himself. Since then Gus as worked there, worked hard, got promoted, got married and had a child, it is how it should be in his eyes and whilst he believes in working hard and the security of job he wants more for his son Charlie (Matt Damon - Mystic Pizza) and is proud that he is studying medicine at college. But everything Gus believes in is torn apart when he learns that the plant is shutting down as now getting on in years jobs are tough to come by and with Charlie wanting to drop out of college it is a hard time.
"Rising Son" is one of those slice of life movies which is a product of its era with a storyline about factories and plants being closed down as robot production becomes cheaper. But it is a story which despite being over 20 years is still a common one for those who are moving on in years finding the going tough when they lose their jobs. Just think back two or three years as big high street shops which had been around for decades went under and those people who worked for them all their life suddenly found themselves facing finding work again. And it is a fascinating look at the emotional impact on an entire family and a community when this happens.
But "Rising Son" is also more than just this because it is also a look at the family dynamic where Gus is proud of his two sons, the lawyer and Charlie the pre-med student. You can feel the pressure which Charlie is under from his proud father who is oblivious to the fact that Charlie doesn't want to do pre-med. You get a sense that whilst Gus believed in the security of work he wanted more for his sons than what he had.
Not only is all this well written with a lot of depth but is also well acted with Brian Dennehy delivering a powerful performance as a typical American who finds his world rocked by change. But Dennehy is matched by Matt Damon in his first major role delivering a confident performance of a son torn by the love for his father and what he wants to do. In fact for a TV movie "Rising Son" has a good cast which also features Piper Laurie, Ving Rhames and Richard Jenkins.
What this all boils down to is that "Rising Son" is a good movie which whilst a product of its time has a drama which is still as meaningful now as it was. It is a slow burning movie but still one full of drama with good performances especially from Brian Dennehy and Matt Damon.