on 23 October 2013
They do say that 'the love of money is the route of all evil', & this gripping & effective film goes a good way to illustrating just that point.
Directed by Sam Raimi (& based on the novel of the same name by Scott Smith) it tells the story of Hank Mitchell, his dim-witted brother Jacob & his friend Lou, who, during a drive through a nature reserve in rural (& very snowy) Minnesota, stumble upon a crashed private plane hidden in the woods. The pilot is long-dead, but to their amazement they find a bag containing $4.4 million of unmarked dollar bills inside the plane.
A moral dilemma ensues, & the three agree to make a pact to keep the money. They don't however count on quite where this simple plan may lead, as their greed & stupidity begins to make the plan unravel rather spectacularly...
This film was quite a departure at the time (1998) for Raimi, getting away from his usual brand of horror, & makes for a very atmospheric crime thriller. The atmosphere is heightened all the more by the snowy landscapes where the action is set, & the rather creepy & hostile crows who seem to be forever keeping a watchful eye on anyone who comes near the plane.
Billy Bob Thornton (as Jacob) pretty-much steals the show from under Bill Paxton (Hank), earning himself a nomination for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture that year. A mention too here for the excellent Bridget Fonda (who plays Hank's heavily pregnant wife Sarah) & who plays a bigger part in the story than perhaps expected, & the memorable music score by Danny Elfman, of The Simpsons fame.
All in all, great entertainment that keeps you on the edge of your seat right till the end!
This 1998 thriller was director Sam Raimi's first excursion away from the horror genre in which he made his name, and it is a very respectable effort. Based on the novel by Scott B. Smith, and set during the bleak wintertime in Midwestern USA (Minnesota and Wisconsin), Raimi's film tells the story of brothers Hank (Bill Paxton), a struggling mill store worker, and Jacob Mitchell (Billy Bob Thornton), an unemployed, stuttering simpleton, who, together with drunken, obstreperous friend Lou, happen across a crashed plane, buried in the snow and containing a multi-million dollar booty. There follows a tense and intriguing, if rather over-complex and somewhat fanciful, storyline, during which the 'lucky three', having agreed not to declare their find to the authorities, find themselves, via a series of bad choices and conspiring events, descending into a mire of petty jealousies and conflicting desires.
Raimi (along with cinematographer Alar Kivilo) has created a nicely atmospheric look and feel to the film, along the way convincingly evoking the remote and isolated nature of the community portrayed, which is at times reminiscent of recent films such as Fargo and Winter's Bone. Raimi also makes skilful use of the deathly symbolism of the crows which pepper the snow-clad trees as the trio uncover their treasure, even evoking the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock, as Hank is accosted by the marauding birds on entering the stricken aircraft. Whilst the film's series of coincidences and misfortunes becomes a little too labyrinthine for its own good, what raises the film's stature for me (into 4-star territory) is the portrayal of the central relationship of the two brothers. Paxton is solid as Hank, who is torn between his initial honest intention to return the money as against the increased financial demands that will result from wife Sarah's (Bridget Fonda) imminent happy event, but it is Bob Thorton who once again excels as the intellectually-challenged Jacob, morphing brilliantly from his initial slow-witted prankster into an altogether more considered (and perceptive) character, as he reveals his feelings about the brothers' deceased father, and starts to have reservations about their future plans for the illicit money. For me, Bob Thornton's performance here ranks with his turn in Sling Blade as the best I have seen from him.
Overall therefore, whilst the film's tragic conclusion is a little too predictable (and contrived) for me, A Simple Plan is nevertheless an intriguing thriller well worth catching (on the basis of Bob Thornton's performance alone).
on 16 August 2011
Simple Plan is a simple movie. It features no special effects or bad language; it is a script driven movie. Simple Plan also has brilliant acting, especially from Thorton, who occasionally hits upon almost perfect naturalism. Paxton is brilliant as a white collar hick.
Director Sam Raimi abandons his balls to the wall style to produce a quiet and ultimately sad morality masterpiece. The snow scapes achieve beauty in their own style and add to the feel of the film. All of the elements are here - story, photography, acting, direction, and what ever else I can't think of. Simple Plan is nothing revolutionary, just a piece of remarkable craftsmanship. Given the dearth of good thrillers and the public appetite for thrillers, it's too bad that this film is so overlooked.
Director Sam Raimi crafts this story from the best seller. Set in a cold, wintry rural landscape, Brothers Hank (smart accountant Bill Paxton) and Jacob (dim-witted Billy Bob Thornton), along with Jacob's equally dumb friend Lou (Brent Briscoe), find a downed plane full of four million dollars. The pilot is dead and no one else knows about it. Could it be drug money? Sounds simple. However, family, greed and common sense don't always mix and the story soon goes haywire. No need to give away anything else other than there is an unexpected body count and an ending that will shock. This is one of those sleeper hits that never fails to surprise and delight. Bridget Fonda costars as Paxton's wife who goes through her own metamorphosis.
on 19 December 2013
In the blurb on the back cover of this dvd, The Express reviewer claims that "It's Shallow Grave meets Fargo but better!". I would suggest that both those films are far superior to this one. Although they have some aspects in common with this film, at nearly two hours duration A Simple Plan is too long by at least half an hour. Some plot strands are highly implausible but can almost be excused given that it is at heart a morality tale. However, the moral is driven home without any of the black humour that makes Fargo so appealing. So, although it's not a bad film and provides a couple of hours entertainment, there are better ones to watch e.g. Blood Simple and the above-mentioned movies.
First off, let me tell you that if you want to see a cheerful uplifting movie that will send you off into the night with your faith in the morality and humanity of mankind restored, this aint it!! Stop reading now and go watch something uplifting and sentimental like the fantastic Field Of Dreams or any of Frank Capra's movies.
This is the story of three men who find a plane load of money and decide to keep the cash. A simple plan you might think but of course it's not and things start to go wrong...
Sam Raimi's movie is dark. Did I say dark? I'm sorry I meant very DARK. Bleak even. It's kind of like It's a Wonderful Life but in reverse. However if you like dark movies and love Billy Bob Thornton, you'll love this. If you don't, then don't watch this movie, spend your hard earned cash on something else. This is a great movie, with great performances from all concerned, it just wont be for everyone...
Don't know why it's not available on DVD in the UK though!!!
on 1 May 2003
I saw this film by chance one afternoon as there was nothing else on at the cinema, and now by choice, I am one of its most ardent afficionados.
I like the Coen Bros and thought Fargo was superb but Sam Remy's, A Simple Plan, goes beyond it and really gets under your skin, aided by an unforgettable score, you start to think how easily things can go wrong.
The snow scenery adds to the sense of helplessness, both in the private lives of the characters and the plan itself in that it represents a metaphor of endlessness.
BB Thornton turns in another mesmeric performance and the often typecast Paxton does his bit well too. This is a film that benefits from being watched alone as it allows the viewer a deeper sense of involvement with the plot and subplots. In many ways I am glad that ASP was not a huge cult success and if you have stumbled upon it by chance then you are very fortunate, as I was.
DON'T tell all your friends about it. PLEASE...
on 12 May 2008
A Simple Plan also has brilliant acting, especially from Thorton, who occasionally hits upon almost perfect naturalism. Other props go to Paxton, who is nearly perfect as a white collar hick and Briscoe as the resentful rube.
Sam Raimi abandons his balls to the wall style to produce a quiet and ultimately sad masterpiece. The snow-scapes were probably inspired by Fargo, seeing as how the Coens and Raimi are pals. Even so, they achieve beauty in their own style and add to the feel of the film. All of the elements are here then, story, photography, acting, direction, and what ever else I can't think of. It's nothing revolutionary, just a piece of remarkable craftsmanship. Given the dearth of good thrillers and the public appetite for thrillers, it's too bad that this film is so overlooked.
When three friends discover a crashed plane with over $4,000,000 in it they think their troubles are over but if they keep the money will they be found out and more to the point who's money is it. It doesn't help that two of them are brothers one of whom is a bit of a simpleton and the other member of the trio is the village drunk - a recipe for disaster. It's a brilliant lesson that love of money is the root of all evil. There's quite a lot of violence in the film but all of it necessary to the plot. If you like the film "Very Bad Things" you'll love this.
on 9 January 2011
Two brothers and a friend, stumble onto a crashed small plane, in it a big bag containing 4.5 million un-holly dollars.
This movie will keep you on the edge of your seat, and although it isn't fast paced, it is very exciting, with twists and shocking consequences.
As a big fan of Billy Bob Thornton, I think he delivered a very fine performance as the seemingly but not really, dumb, unkempt brother of Hank and a lot of this film's success is down to him.