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BEST LAID PLANS

SYNOPSIS:
Things don't seem to be going so well for Nick (Alessandro Nivola). Hoping to leave small town Tropico once and for all on the back of his inheritance, Nick is disappointed to find that the father he nursed through his dying days left nothing but massive debt. Trapped in his meaningless job at a recycling plant and about to be evicted, Nick thinks he has reached rock bottom. That is until old friend Bryce (Josh Brolin) shows up for a drunken night in a bar and a call later on that night - he's gotten himself into some serious trouble with a girl (Reese Witherspoon) at the bar …

"The plans for Best Laid plans were perhaps, too well laid. Here is a script that reeks of student aspirations. There is a real sense that writer Ted Griffin (Ravenous) has set out to make a movie in the spirit of Usual Suspects with a touch of Pulp Fiction thrown in and a final scene with a hint of The Way We Were. Post Modernism at its most studied. But there's the problem. There are so many twists and turns in the plot that it feels like an attempt at a clever script. The twists and turns are not so much predictable as: who cares? Perhaps the fault is not all in the script but also in the characters or the casting. The two male leads are shallow and quite unlikeable. Their motivation for their individual actions is totally self-centred and, while they don't need to be solving the problem of world hunger, there does need to be some reason for us to care about them. Credibility is further diminished by the misogynist presentation of the female lead, Lissa (Reese Witherspoon in another solid performance). Why she would make the choices she does is so unjustified that it is nothing short of male fantasy. British director, Mike Barker (Silent Witness) has not made the Atlantic crossing well and may have been better served setting this story in an English town with local actors. Perhaps that may have provided more depth … or quirkiness … or something. It certainly needed something."
Lee Gough

"Best Laid Plans is a film noir; its darkness sadly rests in its gruesome mistreatment of the female protagonist. A self-aware thriller replete with plot twists and surprises, it seems unaware of its ultimate message - that women can be used as pawns in men’s power games. The sugar coated ending, intended to hint at some form of redemption, is mysogynistic at its core. To say too much would ruin the element of surprise which does sustain a level of interest. This is unfortunately muted by the over-indulgence in shock tactics. One of the best thrillers of recent years, The Usual Suspects, was successful because the performances were gripping. The actors played their roles as if every plot twist was also a revelation to them. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said here. With the possible exception of Reese Witherspoon’s hapless Lissa, the performances are so weighed down by the secrets that will ultimately be revealed that characterisation is lacking. As Bryce, Josh Brolin plays the typical arrogant ‘jock’ without a hint of the intelligence one would expect from a college academic. His friendship with Nick lacks any chemistry, which causes the very theme of betrayal of trust to lose resonance. The characters go through so many changes it seems they have forgotten who they are. And ultimately we don’t care about them; they are merely the vehicles around which the plot is designed and hidden traps revealed. The Usual Suspects left audiences gasping for air, desperate to go straight back in to the cinema to see it again. Best Laid Plans packs more of a light, unsatisfying prod."
Angie Fox

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 2
Mixed: 0

TRAILER

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

BEST LAID PLANS (M)
(US)

CAST: Alessandro Nivola, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Rocky Carroll, Michael G. Hagerty, Terence Dashon Howard

DIRECTOR: Mike Barker

PRODUCERS: Sean Bailey, Betsy Beers, Chris Moore

SCRIPT: Ted Griffin

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ben Seresin

EDITOR: Sloane Klevin

MUSIC: Craig Armstrong

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sophie Becher

RUNNING TIME:

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 4, 1999 (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane)







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