A Simple Plan ★★★★½

Original Title: A Simple Plan
Year of Release: 1998
Genres: Crime; Thriller
Director: Sam Raimi
Writer: Scott B. Smith
Main Cast: Bill Paxton, Bridget Fonda, Billy Bob Thornton, Brent Briscoe, Chelcie Ross, Gary Cole, Becky Ann Baker

Sam Raimi had an interesting period after Army of Darkness where he went out of his comfort zone, making four very different films that do not fit into the horror genre and are (mostly) scaled back. A Simple Plan is the most grounded film of his career, and it's also one of his best. It's an incredibly mature film, more of a character study on three men who find a lot of money and have to decide what to do with it, showing how greed, distrust and paranoia slowly destroy what could have been the titular simple plan.

Paxton and Thornton are incredible in this, some of the best work I have seen with them, sharing genuine chemistry as two very different brothers who cannot shake their bond. Fonda also impressed me as Paxton's wife, and Briscoe shows just how much range he has. The film gets very tense in a visceral, human way, never becoming over-the-top or excessive, playing off almost as a Coen-esque thriller. Elfman's music is very understated and helps to build the atmosphere of this snowy film, with Kivilo's cinematography working in terrific ways to build tension and seep the viewer into the ever-tense narrative.

Overall, A Simple Plan is a truly great film, a thoroughly compelling, thrilling, and quite tragic tale of greed. One of Raimi's best, with terrific performances all around, and a powerful ending that deeply moved me. Brilliant!

Story: 8
Directing: 9
Cinematography: 8.5
Acting: 9
Sound: 8.5
Visual Effects: 8.5


Violence & Gore: 7.5
Sex & Nudity: 3
Drugs & Profanity: 4
Intensity & Horror: 6

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