Rider on the Rain : What is this movie about?

What is this movie about?

!!!WARNING - MAJOR SPOILERS!!!

Just seen this movie. It is brilliant. I found it intriguing, enigmatic and thoroughly engaging.

I am still digesting it, and I look forward to many further viewings, and I am curious to hear people's ideas about what the movie is about?

Beyond the deft telling of a thriller/mystery story, is there more to be identified as to what this movie as a work of art is addressing?

As I'm reflecting on it, I'm sure there were things about the movie that whilst I may have noticed them and perhaps have an inkling that they are significant in some way nevertheless I failed to really understand what such significance points to.

For example, the subject of time kept cropping up: Dobbs' watch, the pendulum, scene-setting headings relaying precise time, and other places I seem to recall noticing it.

And what about Dobbs' misleading impression about the body that was found? A whole other tale woven into the story, a parallel tale; involving something of the notion of mistaken identity on Mellie's part; and involving, too, a falsehood we the audience are initially taken in by (unless I just missed some tell tale signs).

And what are we to deduce about relationships between men and women? The mother drinking to forget men are pigs, the daughter echoing this at one point. The evident power or influence different men exert over Mellie and the different ways these men variously affect her; the rapist who rapes Mellie; Dobbs, who interrogation of her in very manipulative and unprofessional ways i stantamount to bullying and harrassment; Mellie's husband (?) whose interactions with both Mellie and her mother at times seem to centre around suspicions he has about Mellie and around his trying to work out his own approach to his relationship with a woman as distinct from how his father might have handled things; and too, there’s the fact that Mellie’s husband (?) seems to love Mellie, but we discover he has been unfaithful. And why does Mellie never confront him about that or ever tell him of her ordeal with the rapist?

So, what are your thoughts? What do you think about plot details, themes, subtexts? What is this movie about?

I’d be very interested in your thoughts, please. And also any pointers anyone can give as to where I might be able to read critical analysis about this movie and the director’s other work, please.

Re: What is this movie about?

There is one point that I would like to discuss. Dobbs is searching for an escaped mental patient who he believes has been killed by Mellie. Toward the end, he reveals that the name of the "mental patient/rapist" is different from the name given much earlier in the film (Bruno Socce). These are two different people. Apparently Dobbs used Socce as bait so that Mellie would confess. How did Dobbs know that this rapist would end up at Mellie's home? Dobbs was right about the murder and found the sunken body, and he even knew the correct name of the guy (Mac Guffin). How did Dobbs know that Mellie was the killer, and once he figured out all of the pieces of the puzzle, why did he let her go?

Re: What is this movie about?

Didn't spot the thing about the names. I'll watch out for it next viewing. Might even have to take notes while watching.

As to why he let her go, I figured he saw her as the only real victim in the middle of it all and didn't see why she should suffer any more.

I think, given what seems to be the theme of men's relations to Mellie of power over her, it was a final twist which redeemed masculinity in the last. Without that final revelaton of Dobbs' character the movie would have been an altogether unrelentingly dismal view of men in their relations to women.

Re: What is this movie about?


why did he let her go?

She was acting in self defense and Dobbs was working for the U.S. Army out of Germany. His only job was to find the rapist and recover the money. And what exactly would Mellie be charged with? Improper corpse disposal?

It's also worth pointing out that Dobbs himself would have ended up in prison for kidnapping and assault if the details of what took place came to light.

Re: What is this movie about?

I found this plot point confusing too. Just saw the movie in the excellent Studio Canal widescreen DVD, but there were no subtitles, and my French is less than fluent. Is Bruno actually the name of the man found buried on the beach? And "Mac Guffin" the name of the mental patient/rapist? I thought that Dobbs was after the rapist, but was he really after the guy buried a year ago? Dobbs enlists the French police force to search for a body, and they come up with the body buried on the beach, apparently murdered by his mistress. Then confusion reigned for me: how did Mellie find the sister (Corrine Marchand) of the mistress? Why exactly did she fly to Paris to meet her, and to what end? Why did she go to all the trouble of mailing the money back to herself, when she could have just hidden it? Why did Marchand's cohorts then try to extract from Mellie the location of the money? If this was the guy that Dobbs was pursuing, how did the money end up in the red TWA bag left in Mellie's house, and not in the bag found in the train station (perhaps sitting there for a year)? How did Dobbs find out where she was in Paris? Now I'm really going down the rabbit hole (viz. the Lewis Carroll quote that begins the movie).

And "MacGuffin" was Hitchcock's term for an object or event of no importance that is meant to provide the audience with a false mystery or motive and distract the attention from what is really going on, so perhaps the rapist (if that was his name) simply served that purpose. It never is made clear why Dobbs latches on to Mellie right from the start.

Re: What is this movie about?


Is Bruno actually the name of the man found buried on the beach? And "Mac Guffin" the name of the mental patient/rapist? I thought that Dobbs was after the rapist, but was he really after the guy buried a year ago?


Whoa what? I thought Mellie did kill the rapist and dumped his body, and that the wife killed her husband in another similar situation.. Which is weird why would Dobbs even try and confuse her with the Bruno story if its really MacGuffin? Why would Mellie care who she murdered? If anything it's better to admit you killed a mental rapist than a husband of your neighbor.

The whole her flying to Paris was confusing, and mailing the money. Great acting but the movie gets a 6/10 for the muddled story.
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