Hank, an accountant, his brother Jacob and Jacob’s friend, a drunken oaf named Lou, stumble onto a small, crashed plane where they discover a duffle bag containing $4.4 million.  They hatch a plot to keep the money.  Complications arise.

How much am I willing to compromise my own happiness to help others? How much am I willing to step on others to maximize my own happiness?  Is it worth risking contentment for chance at extravagance? Should I sell my soul for Creed tickets?  These are the sorts of difficult questions we all face as we stumble through life. Part of what makes A Simple Plan so good is that it presents us with such questions in a specific and realistic context. On the one hand, you and your brother go to prison for at least ten years, leaving your pregnant wife to fend for herself. On the other hand, you both remain free and become millionaires. In order for the latter to happen, all you have to do is quickly snuff out an injured old man.  The scenes of suspense and dramatic tension combine with these scenes of moral tension to make an utterly riveting film.

A Simple Plan also has brilliant acting, especially from Thorton, who occasionally hits upon almost perfect naturalism.  Other props go to Paxton, who is nearly perfect as a white collar hick and Briscoe as the resentful rube.


Raimi abandons his balls to the wall style to produce a quiet and ultimately sad masterpiece.  The snow-scapes were probably inspired by Fargo, seeing as how the Coens and Raimi are pals.  Even so, they achieve beauty in their own style and add to the feel of the film.  All of the elements are here then, story, photography, acting, direction, and what ever else I can’t think of.  It’s nothing revolutionary, just a piece of remarkable craftsmanship.  Given the dearth of good thrillers and the public appetite for thrillers, it’s too bad that this film is so overlooked.


Nothing worth mentioning.

  • Film Overall: 9
  • Direction: 9
  • Story: 9
  • Acting: 9
  • DVD Extras: 1