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Overall Rating
4.44

Awesome63.5%
Worth A Look: 20.44%
Average: 13.14%
Pretty Bad: 2.19%
Total Crap: 0.73%

10 reviews, 77 user ratings


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Simple Plan, A
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by Derek

"Should've been a bit better...but still worthy of your attention."
4 stars

Sometimes it's interesting to see a movie that is ALMOST hits a home run. Fortunately, in the case of A SIMPLE PLAN the result is not a strikeout, but rather a line drive off the wall.

I'm a fan of the crime movie sub-genre where we get to see a regular, good person get involved in something they know is illegal and then slowly realize the consequences of their bad choice. Some would call this type of plot "Hitchcockian," and A SIMPLE PLAN seems to consciously invite that sort of flattering label.

As I too knew before I saw the movie, the plot begins with two brothers and a hunting buddy happening upon a wrecked plane in a snowy forest. The plane contains nothing but one dead pilot, and one duffel bag full of money. Naturally, they decide to try keeping the money, or we wouldn't have a movie. The older brother (played by Bill Paxton) is smarter than his brother (Billy Bob Thornton) and the buddy (Brent Briscoe), but that's not saying much. Paxton and his wife (Bridget Fonda) take charge of the money and what happens to it. Suffice it to say that complications ensue.

As I implied, A SIMPLE PLAN has enough intelligence and truth to keep you hooked. The plot developments are all seem realistic, and they do provide the viewer the opportunity to ask him or herself what they would do in the same situation. The screenplay is smart enough not to make Paxton's character a movie hero - there is no fake air of invincibility about him, and he makes mistakes. Right there, we already have a better movie than at least 80% of what we see out of Hollywood these days. Rather than Hitchcock, the action of A SIMPLE PLAN most closely resembles MACBETH, Shakespeare's dark husband-and-wife tragedy of ambition.

That said, there are flaws in this simple plan for a movie. To me, Bill Paxton is in general a poor man's Bill Pullman. There are some moments of high emotion in this film where I simply felt he was pushing for it. He is right for the role in general, but I just don't feel he's much of an actor - he's less of a liability in silly stuff like TWISTER or PREDATOR 2.

In addition, the dialogue in the film alternates between casually realistic and nakedly expository, in the manner of a movie-of-the-week. Poor Bridget Fonda has to suck it up during a particularly clunky monologue where she lists consequences of Paxton's threat to give up the scheme. Ugh.

Nonetheless, this movie still has strengths that outweigh its weaknesses. Hey, Billy Bob as a dimwitted hick - money in the bank, right? Definitely a good rental or matinee.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=559&reviewer=71
originally posted: 02/24/99 07:42:19
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User Comments

5/13/16 j la mere engrossing.a whirlpool of tension leading ordinary people into a dark abyss. 4 stars
8/25/13 Steve A solid, engrossing, emotional film---and a bit exhausting! 4 stars
7/28/13 Katherine Until looking at this review I was on the edge of my seat LOVED IT anyway. 4 stars
5/27/13 c slow and over ratted. left feeling disappointed 2 stars
9/28/10 PAUL SHORTT CLEVER THRILLER WITH GOOD PERFORMANCES 4 stars
12/02/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
10/02/07 Double M A Character study that is deep, powerful (if very depressing) with GREAT cast and directing 5 stars
5/07/07 Tracey Chambers a movie I can watch over and over, great acting, great story 5 stars
11/08/05 suzanne taut and tragic; packed with great performances 5 stars
10/10/05 Julia was pretty good 4 stars
8/30/05 Nick Kraemer Great movie. Filmed in my HOMETOWN!!! 4 stars
3/26/05 Lia such an amazing movie 5 stars
3/18/05 indrid cold A "simple" movie, but perfectly done. Doesn't get much better than this. 5 stars
2/07/05 Jeff Anderson A tightly scripted, perfectly directed & acted film about responsibility in a bad situation 5 stars
9/05/04 DM Gripping and heartbreaking 5 stars
7/17/04 Harry J Unbelievable drama level......Hitchcock style.....one of my faves. 5 stars
6/03/04 the bride The rating says it all... Just awesome 5 stars
12/03/03 Agent Sands Really tight script and great acting. The wife getting shot is actually hilariously staged. 4 stars
7/26/03 Kyle How the fuck was this predictable? 5 stars
7/23/03 JJ So predictable, so boring 1 stars
5/15/03 George Jung One of the best movies of the 90s. Proves Raimi's talent as a director. 5 stars
4/13/03 Jack Sommersby Takes a horrifying novel and dilutes it with contrivance and convenience. 2 stars
3/19/03 Sandy Robinson One of the best-acted, but, saddest movies of all time. 5 stars
11/15/02 Stevo Thornton and Briscoe are superb, but can't save a generally badly plotted, boring movie. 2 stars
4/03/02 Butterbean A nice thriller to watch right after you've wasted your time with THE PANIC ROOM. 4 stars
10/29/01 Gary Strong performances (esp. Paxton & Fonda), supreme direction & beautiful cinematography. 5 stars
9/05/01 Jake Too slow, tedious, and overlong. Good story clumsily unravels 3 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Sam Raimi's best film next to the Evil Dead series. A beautifully directed thriller. 5 stars
7/05/01 Matthew Bartley Great thriller 5 stars
5/02/01 R.W. Welch Watchable, but it's hard to work up much empathy for these guys. 4 stars
3/01/01 John Trent Didn´t expect anything good,what a a surprise! 5 stars
10/21/00 joh completly brilliant 5 stars
9/02/00 jetcat main character relentlessly annoying, thornton didn't play his role well enough 3 stars
5/30/00 natasha beautifully done -- morose and intense 4 stars
5/23/00 lucas jackson outstanding and original,dam good!!!!! 5 stars
3/06/00 Richard Wright A very depressing but ultimately worthwhile film with unsuspecting twists and great acting. 5 stars
2/12/00 Skye Chapman treasure of the sierra madre meets fargo 5 stars
1/18/00 Josh One of the best movies I have ever seen, should have won best picture and director 5 stars
1/10/00 Will Leaves you chilled and depressed. Not all movies have to be cheery fuckfests. 5 stars
11/24/99 Murray Castles Great acting and directing. Aint Thornton great. Read the book. 5 stars
10/05/99 rob A heartwrenching,devastating masterpiece. 5 stars
9/25/99 KK This is one depressing movie, but definitely worth watching. 4 stars
9/07/99 seldom scene the best a movie has to offer 5 stars
8/15/99 Elizaveta This film shattered me as few others ever have..absolutely brilliant! 5 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg Characters are fleshed out to the bone, making this great, but ending made little sense. 4 stars
6/09/99 PurityJustBegs A harrowing, audacious film that devistates and provokes..flawless storytelling.. 5 stars
4/27/99 JonnyAngel Great film, great film making. 5 stars
4/27/99 Lucas jackson it is an outstanding,spectacular movie full of twists and turns with some great humor 5 stars
4/05/99 Cool Thing Maybe it's just me, but I didn't think it was all that good. Bordered on boring. 3 stars
4/03/99 Lily Devastating! Raimi can do wotever he desires. 5 stars
3/11/99 nototis One lapse in logic you could drive a truck through, but first-rate in spite of it. 4 stars
3/11/99 haden lawyer Raimi is a god among cretins 5 stars
3/11/99 Negative Creep Thornton Steals the show. 4 stars
3/09/99 Katie Brilliant film, Billy Bob deserves the Oscar and so does the screenplay. 5 stars
3/04/99 The Graduate Very well crafted characters, esp. Thornton (hello, Oscar!). 5 stars
2/18/99 pd fine performances all around.tension filled morality piece. 4 stars
2/15/99 Kooky Sal Raimi's directorship was a downside. It was unsuitable. Over-rated. 3 stars
2/14/99 Jack Deth great adaptation of the book. thornton gets 5 stars for his performance 5 stars
2/10/99 jaybo Paxton's best work since Weird Science 5 stars
2/05/99 mark h Some startling scenes-unexpected-shocking-movie craftsmanship 5 stars
2/01/99 Tom Ripley Great novel becomes a great movie. One for the top ten list. 5 stars
1/30/99 davebo cliche plot but done better than ever before, all the snow reminds me of fargo :) 5 stars
1/29/99 Scott Stipe I loved the book, movie was great, SAM RAIMI 5 stars
1/26/99 Jim Fay Thornton terrific as usual. A great job by Paxton. I didn't expect that from him at all. 5 stars
1/24/99 James E. Laczkowski Best Film I've Seen In Many A Moon 5 stars
1/24/99 Hannah Hopkins-Maupin Thornton is unbelievable. 5 stars
1/19/99 donkey_dew KICKS ALL ASS. I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS MOVIE. AWESOME. 5 stars
1/03/99 Negative Creep Great film, paxton is a highly underrated actor, Thornton is excellent 4 stars
1/03/99 Leon Russell Amusing, a rich girl like Bridget preaching about the evils of money. 3 stars
12/31/98 grunter despite Thornton's performance, overrated and utterly predictable; Fonda's dialogue shines 3 stars
12/28/98 Dan Rowe great acting, love the scenery, crows against snow. 5 stars
12/14/98 Binky Paxton's best film yet. Why is this not in wide release? 5 stars
12/10/98 Greg Robinson You Suck cock 5 stars
12/10/98 dana Excellent performances, writing, & direction! Paxton's best since One False Move. 5 stars
12/04/98 Garfield Awesome beyond belief!!!! 5 stars
12/01/98 Kirgo Not as good as Fargo, like people are saying, but very, very, well done, never-the-less. 5 stars
8/27/98 Mister Whoopee Will be a big Oscar contender this year. Billy Bob and Paxton shine. Music by Elfman. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  04-Dec-1998 (R)

UK
  21-May-1999

Australia
  04-Feb-1999 (MA)


Directed by
  Sam Raimi

Written by
  Scott B. Smith

Cast
  Bill Paxton
  Billy Bob Thornton
  Bridget Fonda
  Brent Briscoe
  Jack Walsh
  Gary Cole



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