A Simple Plan (1998)

Not as simple as one would be led to believe. A Simple Plan offers great ensemble performances, never-ending suspense, and great execution at telling its tragic fable–all the while making a statement as one of the best films of 1998.

The core and real punch of the picture comes from its two main characters linked by blood but not by much else. The trouble all begins when the bothers and a buddy come across a downed air plane in the forest. with $4 million inside. The idea arises that they should all keep the money and hide their secret from all others. Hank resists at first but the promise of the money draws him in to becoming apart of the plan.

You could say the film’s like a Treasure of the Sierra Madre meets Fargo but this gives disservice to director Sam Raimi. The man famous for splatterfest horror outings shows great maturity in pulling something off like this so well.

The acting is some of the finest of the year, well I guess it would be last year. Paxton gives his best performance of his career, and Billy Bob Thornton does for backwater townsfolk what DeNiro did for psychos. My favorite would have to be the Lady MacBeth wife of Hank, played chillingly by Bridget Fonda. Her moral high ground disappears at the sight of the money and she drastically turns into a brooding and malicious character. In bed she whispers plans for her husband to hide his tracks or set up his partners to take the fall. That’s where A Simple Plan turns into a devious game of each other suspicious of the next, and falling victim to their own greed. The money brings out all the true feelings each has for the other that had remained buried inside.

Add a haunting score by master maestro Danny Elfman and you have yourself one fine feature.

Nate’s Grade: A

About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on September 12, 1999, in 1999 Movies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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