Rain

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Katherine Lindberg’s “Rain” is about people who act in passion, and then must deal with the consequences. It takes place in a small Iowa town cursed with bleak, flat landscapes and moody cinematography, not to mention a lot of small-town people who have sex with each other all the time. This is pure cheesy prime-time soap opera fodder, artfully filmed and peppered with profanity.

Our heroine, I guess, is Ellen (Melora Walters), who is tearful and probably crazy from the first moment we see her, which is when she kills her husband, presumably because he’s been having an affair with Patsy (Jo Anderson), whose husband Ben (Ezra Patterson) is running for mayor and who seems to have had some connection with Ellen years ago.

Ben’s son Tom (Jamey Sheridan) figures into things, too, seeing as how he’s having an affair with Ellen, which makes you wonder why she was so judgmental about her husband’s infidelity — if, in fact, that’s why she killed him (the movie doesn’t tell us).

Ellen’s mother Audrey (Diane Ladd) is there, too, nosing in people’s business and whatnot. And Tom has a couple friends (Ellen Muth and Adrian Johansson) who have a Scooby-like knack for stumbling on crime scenes.

There is some intrigue in the plot twists, and viewed as trashy melodrama where everyone speaks fervently through clenched teeth, it fares well enough. The ending is utterly ridiculous, but it’s possible that when your whole movie is over-the-top, the only way to end it is to go even further.

None of the performances is anything other than serviceable.

In all, it reads like the pilot episode for a TV soap. How else to explain Tom’s friends suddenly developing sexual tension, making out — and then never referring to it again? Obviously, that point would become relevant in a later episode, as would some background on Ellen’s obvious mental instability, and why she is the WORST LIAR in movie history.

There is a scene where Audrey literally cries over spilled milk, and one where Ellen literally covers her tracks. It is a breakthrough in the genre of Filmed Metaphors. If only they could have figured out a way to make the projector issue a scent, so we could say the film literally smells funny.

C+ (; R, abundant harsh profanity, some sexuality, brief partial nudity, a lot of blood.)

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