The last movie I’d seen Dustin Hoffman in was when he played a goofy, awkward college grad in The Graduate. So he was kinda the same, but not really when I finally saw his hit alongside megastar Tom Cruise in Rain Man.
Tom Cruise is the high rolling, cocky car salesman without anyone close to him. Dustin Hoffman is the high functioning autistic savant, who, surprise surprise, is Cruise’s older brother. After their father’s death, and Raymond (Hoffman) has been given all of his father’s money in his will. With his predictable selfishness, Charlie (Cruise) “kidnaps” his brother and drives across country (Ray doesn’t fly) trying to figure a way to get the money.
The results are very predictable. I can see why Cruise and Hoffman nicknamed the film “Two Schmucks in a Car” during filming. Nothing should really work. But, for some unknown reason, it does. A large part of it’s success is due to the acting of the leading men. Hoffman portrays the savant with all of his nuances, perfectly, with almost no emotion. Cruise, on the other hand, has the hotshot young gun type, down pat.