7 February 1999 | Steve-176
Simply one of the best films of the year, perhaps the decade! A Simple Plan is about three men who find a huge amount of money in a plane wreck. They decide to keep the dough. It's like winning the lottery. It's the American Dream except that " you're supposed to work for the American Dream. But that just makes this better" replies one of the characters.
A Simple Plan stars Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton as two Minnesotan brothers Hank and Jacob who find the money with Jake's friend Lou played by Brent Briscoe.
The film is directed by Sam Raimi, the creator of the Evil Dead movies and there are some suitably macabre and funny Evil Dead touches to this masterpiece, although Raimi doesn't botch A Simple Plan up as he did with Sharon Stone's The Quick And The Dead a couple of years ago. This is a restrained, delicate Raimi.
A Simple Plan instead is on one plane a wry incisive comment on the human condition, but it's also a cautionary tale about the evil good men can do.
The characters are fascinating. Paxton as Hank is the brainy one of the three. He's been to college and has a wife (Bridget Fonda) who's just about to have a baby. Jacob is slow and sad with a big touch of goodness about him. His hair is lank, his teeth are dirty, he's in his thirties and has never had a girlfriend.
Jake gets drunk most days and nights with his boozing friend Lou, and both are unemployed. The prospect of a ton of money is as unsettling and exciting to this lot as it would be to any honest person who becomes suddenly very rich unexpectedly and illegally. This find is guaranteed to turn their lives up side down.
But things take increasingly violent turns until A Simple Plan has the air of a Shakespearian tragedy solidly biased by Hitchcockian twists. Add to this Raimi's weird sense of humour and a Coen Brothers, Fargo like frozen air and you have a superb film that will have you laughing uncomfortably as you ponder the extent to which men and women will go nuts and nasty when greed overcomes them.
Quite rightly both Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton are being touted for big acting awards as a result of their work in this marvellous film.