Let's follow this simple plan and nothing will go wrong....
Judy K. Polhemus | Louisiana | 05/13/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A simple plan. See how easy it is to say: A simple plan. What can go wrong if they follow this simple plan? Two brothers find four million dollars on a crashed airplane in a deserted field on a cold, snowy day. The pilot is dead. Who will know they have the money if they wait one year, divide the money, and go on their merry way?
One brother has the capacity to follow this plan--after all, they decide, the money is probably drug cartel money and will be sought. Possessing it would probably mean death. The following quotes give us clues what direction the other brother will take:
"It is greed to do all the talking but not to want to listen at all"--Democritus. Played by Billy Bob Thornton, the other brother is just a hint of mentally challenged, promises to follow the plan, but must buy something now, anything. His life has been one disaster after the other. Just a little something...
"All human suffering springs from unbridled desire. Unless one extricates oneself from the clutch of greed, one will not free himself from the fetters of sorrow."-- Vellupillai Pirapakaran. Bill Paxton, the other actor who plays the other brother, younger, wiser, more attractive, more successful, creator of the one-year plan, must cover for his brother's blunders, one after the other.
"The lusts and greeds of the body scandalize the Soul; but it has to come to heel."--Logan Pearsall Smith. The older brother errs again, disregarding the plan. The younger brother must make older brother "heel."
"The greed is the unraveling. It's the unraveling and it undoes all the joy that could be."-~Joni Mitchell. Of course, "A Simple Plan" is all about this unraveling and joy undoing. That's about as much as I can tell without giving spoilers.
This is one of those movies based on a book that falls into a special category: A read book easily remembered. It's been several years since I read this book or saw the movie, but I think about both from time to time for the greed theme, but, to me, even greater, lost opportunities. A theme I used in my high school teaching was "Actions have consequences, whether for good or bad." This thriller so vividly shows the results of greed, lost opportunities, and consequences.
"Hell has three gates: lust, anger, and greed"-~Bhagavad Gita. An apt summary and closing."
1 Timothy 6:10
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 03/22/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
""For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
A lot of my friends have raved this film, and yet it has taken me an awful long time to finally see it. Actually, it was Stephen King (an author that I don't even really enjoy that much) raving the novel that peaked my interest in finally getting my hands on this film. This is certainly not what I expected; at all. In fact, this may be one of the best films I've seen in recent months.
It is simply stunning, and emotionally shattering.
The film tells the story of two brothers who, along with a dim-witted friend, stumble across a crashed plane containing four-million-four-hundred-thousand dollars. Hank, the responsible brother (the one with the wife, baby on the way, house, job), decides that they should turn the money in. Jacob, the not so responsible brother, and his friend Lou feel otherwise. Who's going to be looking for this money? Hank tells them that he'll stash the money himself, and once they are certain that no one is going to come after them they will split up the money and go their separate ways. It sounds like a good idea, until greed sets in and they all start turning on one another.
Then people die.
The film is beautifully shot and expertly paced to create a real sense of tension and dread, even when nothing startling is taking place. It reminded me a tad of `Affliction', which was released the very same year. I had a few issues with the tone of `Affliction'; something that I felt was rushed and not distilled enough to carry the films emotional complexity. `A Simple Plan' captures that distilled quality I really wanted to see in `Affliction' (a good film, but a BRILLIANT novel). The hushed sequences of gapping scenery only add to the texture of the film, creating something haunting to the core. You can feel the emotional weight of the situation crushing down on the people involved, and it is magnified by the soft, billowing atmosphere. The faux sense of serenity is beautifully manipulated here.
At its core, `A Simple Plan' is a morality piece; a film that dissects the very presence of greed and its ability to destroy everything we love. Just watching how each character becomes a pawn, a slave to the paper resting safely in a duffle bag, is heartbreaking.
Billy Bob Thornton broke my heart, and I consider his turn here the definition of tour-de-force. It hits you subtly, but when it hits you it hits you hard. It's a sucker-punch to the gut, a brilliantly layered and textured portrayal of conflicted morality and the pain that comes from insufferable guilt. Jacob is the most human individual in the film, and his loss is unimaginable. Bill Paxton is also very good here, at times a tad stiff, and certainly no match for Thornton, but he has very commendable scenes. Bridget Fonda is stunning here. The way she completely switches her characters morals is outstanding. Watching her go from a hesitant bystander to an accomplice to the ringleader is just haunting. Her explosion on her own husband ("WHAT ABOUT ME?") is so uncomfortably phenomenal.
In the end, `A Simple Plan' is far from simple, but it's those layers that make this film a MUST SEE for any and everyone."