A Simple Plan

on December 11, 1998 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
When Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton), his younger brother Hank (Bill Paxton) and redneck buddy Lou (Brent Briscoe) discover a downed plane containing a corpse and $4.4 million, they up-end their lives in deciding what to do with their ill-gotten gains. Of course, their "simple plan" to keep the money, waiting until after the plane is discovered before spending it, soon unravels messily.
A movie that promises far more than it delivers, "A Simple Plan" does boast a remarkable performance by Thornton as Jacob, a seemingly stupid man who is much smarter and more aware than anyone realizes. However, it's not enough to salvage a film that chooses simplicity over complexity. Instead of unfolding as a subtle, powerful delineation of quiet desperation warping and destroying people's lives through greed, "A Simple Plan" clutters up the story with unnecessary acts of violence and murder, and mainly stays on the surface, offering little more than cheap jolts of melodrama. Starring Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton and Bridget Fonda. Directed by Sam Raimi. Written by Scott B. Smith. Produced by James Jacks and Adam Schroeder. A Paramount release. Drama. Rated R for violence and language. Running time: 123 min.
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