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SIMPLE PLAN, A

SYNOPSIS:
On a wintry New Year's Eve in a small midwestern town, Hank Mitchell (Bill Paxton), his older brother Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jacob's buddy Lou (Brent Briscoe) stimble onto a crashed plane, with the pilot’s dead body – and a bag full of cash. Enough to change their dreary, insecure lives for ever. Reluctantly, Hank agrees to keep it, but only under the condition that he stashes it all away until they know it’s safe to split. Hank's pregnant wife Sarah (Bridget Fonda), becomes a key schemer in what was a simple plan, with a small twist. This leads to the first of several misadventures and accidents that gradually infect the relationships of all concerned and the potential blessing of the treasure becomes a curse that devastates them all – and several others.

"Images of a jet black crow on the whitest of white snow-laden landscapes fill the screen. Striking, stunning images. Black and white; black and white becomes the main theme throughout this extraordinary film, effectively used as an analogy for right versus wrong. In its genre, Sam Raimi's character driven thriller is astonishing. Take the title. A Simple Plan. The plan might be simple to begin with, but like a ball of wool unravelling, it just gets more and more complicated. Just like human relationships, which flounder and disintegrate under duress, temptation and fear. Scott B. Smith's uncluttered script is pure, potent and powerful. So are the remarkable performances. Billy Bob Thornton will take your breath away with a performance so detailed, complex and touching, that your heart will break. His expressive face displays every thought, every emotion so tangibly; Thornton is a real scene-stealer. This is award-winning stuff. But everyone is terrific: Bill Paxton evokes the everyman quality, while Brent Briscoe creates a colourful character whose flaws are totally harmless. In many ways, this is a film whose imposing imagery and superb cinematography are complemented by an evocative soundtrack hitting every nerve and emotion. Unforgettable in every way, A Simple Plan dazzles with its simplicity, its poignancy, its relevance and truth. Simply don't miss it!"
Louise Keller

"Hard not to think of that corny adage, ‘Show God your plans to make him laugh’ – or however it goes – on seeing A Simple Plan. But the film is not merely about a plan that spirals out of control; like the similarly themed Very Bad Things, it’s about how ‘ordinary’ people behave in unexpected circumstances, what makes humans tick and how naïve we are to think that we have control over our own future. Truckloads of irony here, as the incisive script digs into the psyches of four characters, each responding differently to a large stimulus: loads of cash. Our own sympathies and reactions are allowed to see saw, as the misadventure rolls on. Wound up in the moral issues are questions about dreams and aspirations, loyalty and greed, decency and stupidity – and the ungovernable nature of life which with the smallest incident can catapult us into hell. The beauty – and terror - of this script is that it echoes with the identifiably real way of the world: three guys in a truck on a wintry afternoon on a road out of town, just hanging out. A fox steals a chicken, runs in front of the truck, the driver swerves in reflex and hits a tree. No-one hurt. But this tiny incident carries the seeds of the destruction of the men’s lives – either physically or spiritually. There follows a string of small things that have huge consequences. (Reminder of another adage: ‘small trigger, big explosion’.) A Simple Plan is gripping and involving human drama, told with cinematic brilliance and performed to perfection. Make plans to see it."
Andrew L. Urban

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

SIMPLE PLAN (M)
(US)

CAST: Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, Bridget Fonda, Brent Briscoe, Gary Cole, Becky Ann Baker, Chelcie Ross

DIRECTOR: Sam Raimi

PRODUCER: James Jacks, Adam Schroeder

SCRIPT: Scott B. Smith (from own novel)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Alar Kivilo

EDITOR: Arthur Coburn, Eric L. Beason

MUSIC: Danny Elfman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Patrizia Von Brandenstein

RUNNING TIME: 117 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: REP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 11, 1999

Awards List:
Bill Bob Thornton, Best Supporting Actor
Golden Globe Nomination, Winner Los Angeles Film Critics Assoc, Winner Boston Society of Film Critics, Winner Broadcast Film Critics, Winner San Diego Film Critics
Best Film of 98
Winner Film Threat Weekly
Broadcast Film Critics Assoc

Best Screenplay adaptation, Scott B. Smith
Winner Broadcast Film Critics Assoc

Video Release: July 1, 1999

Video Distributor: Becker Home Entertainment







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