A Simple Plan

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Al Barnes

Plot: What’s it about?

Three people who find a snow covered plane wreck also find 4 million dollars inside the plane after Hank (Bill Paxton) moves the decomposing body of the pilot and is unexpectedly attacked by blackbirds..sort of a Hitchcock moment. Hank’s slow witted brother Jacob (Oscar wining Billy Bob Thornton) and Jacob’s best friend Lou want to keep the money but Hank says that’s wrong and they should turn it in to the police. It’s not hard for Jacob and Lou to convince Hank to go along with their idea. This begins what they believe is good fortune is actually a fast trip into greed, mistrust and misfortune. They agree not to tell anyone about the money and the first thing they do is tell people about the money. Somewhat typical but necessary to set in motion a dark comedy of errors. Hank’s wife Sarah (Bridget Fonda) who works as a demure librarian turns into a calculating advisor to Hank on how cover their tracks.

As they make more serious mistakes including murder, Jacob has to chose between siding with his brother or his best friend Lou. As the plot thickens Lou meets his demise and Hank and Jacob sink farther into trouble. Every time you think they are going to get caught they scrape by again. Hank can’t believe the stupid things his brother keeps doing but he won’t abandon him because he feels he has to take care of him. Thornton plays this character perfectly. In the end, without giving away too much you think it’s over and then comes the final irony. A rather cruel and costly lesson that crime does not pay.

Although this story line is typical the quality actors and script keep you very interested through the entire movie. It is well paced, frustrating and exciting and has a sad but well crafted ending. Bill Paxton has become a solid character actor who brings a lot to a movie. This story reminds me a lot of “The Monkey’s Paw” a classic tale of greed that has ironic twists and surprises. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie that didn’t spend too much time at the box office…definitely not an indicator of a bad movie. I am glad I added it to my collection.

Video: How does it look?

This release is widescreen only and 16:9 Enhanced. It is crystal clear and bright with true colors. I get tired of the dark and gritty look many movies are shot. The movie takes place in the winter and it looks like you are really there.

Audio: How does it sound?

Most of the action in the movie is dialogue and background soundtrack but there is gun play that is well done even for 5.1 surround. Sometimes the gunfire in DVD movies is focused in the center channel (poor editing) but this movie is well balanced. The music is done by Danny Elfman who has done too many movies to list. You might remember him as the front man for the group Oingo Boingo. He is a prolific song writer a recording studio whiz.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Not much to say here because there is only one theatrical trailer. I was disappointed because I really enjoy the behind scene goodies most DVD’s come with. Interviews and how they did it explanations give you a lot of interesting insights to the movie makers train of thought and invaluable trivia you can amaze your friends with.

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