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A Simple Plan (1998)
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Review Date: December 20, 1998
Director: Sam Raimi
Writer: Scott B. Smith
Producers: James Jacks, Adam Schroeder
Actors:
Bill Paxton
Billy Bob Thornton
Bridget Fonda
Plot:
Two brothers and a friend find $4.4 million on a crashed airplane in a nearby snow-ridden forest. The boys agree to hang on to the money until the spring, and see if anyone comes looking for it. If nobody claims for it by them, they agree to share the spoils among themselves, and never tell anyone else about it. Somewhere along the line, their "simple plan" goes awry and the plot thickens.
Critique:
Magnificent film blends all the best elements of a suspense with a solid cast of players, a beautiful landscape a la FARGO (7/10), and a labyrinth of twists and turns that will have you gnawing at your fingernails in anticipation of the next morally-questionable booby-trap. Sam Raimi has crafted one of the best thrillers of the past few years, and does so without the aid of his wonderfully creative camera tricks. This film works on all cylinders because Raimi, and screenwriter Smith, groove the characters out of real people with real problems and real concerns on their minds. The people in this film are just like you and me, and that is what makes this thriller so much deeper and grittier than most. It's based in the reality of the moment, and the consequences that each and every one of us could face in the advent of a simple, everyday cover-up. One thing leads to another in this film, and then another, and then another, until the dark reality of the situation finally succumbs the group, at which point, well...you'll see!

All of the actors in this movie are amazing, but Billy Bob Thornton pulls off another fantastic showing, as the hick brother who lacks in the brainpower but makes up for it via his abundancy of conscience. This movie is for all those people who love to sit in a theatre, watch a movie magically unfold before their very eyes, and chew on the stream of questions rattling off in their brains..."What's gonna happen next?"..."What would I do in a situation like this?"..."How the hell are they gonna get out of this one?"

This movie is fun and entertaining to watch because it doesn't give us all the answers up front. It slowly unveils the layers of the story as the minutes of the film tick by, and the tension from the suspense sinks in. The cinematography of this movie is lush and creamy, the actors are rock-solid and the plot is a wonder in the science of twisting and turning. Forget all of those crappy big-budgeted, big-starred Hollywood pictures that are coming out this winter season, and go see a movie that truly embraces all of the good old-fashioned notions that make up a great suspenseful film. This film is a tasty delight for all those who love the mystery and the fascination of a cool thriller, and who enjoy watching real characters live out extraordinary circumstances.

So would I keep a sack of $4.4 million if I found it in the middle of a forest tomorrow? After seeing the degradation of human values that crossed the lives of every single person in this movie, I would say "no". Unless of course...I had a simple plan to get away with it all..... :)
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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