Friday, January 29, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 82

Hungry for an adventure?

About the Cougar

Suspenseful movie not that Simple

A Simple Plan

Starring: Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thorton and Bridget Fonda

Running time: 123 min.

Rating: R

Our rating: *** 1/2 (of five)

Our view: Paxton and Thorton put on great performances while director Sam Raimi rises to new heights.

By Chris Stelmak

Daily Cougar Staff

The title of A Simple Plan makes one gleefully imagine all the chaos that will break out attempting to dissolve the plainest of plans.

The movie takes place in a small Midwestern town in the depths of winter. White blankets of snow cover the fields and rusty farm equipment. The silence and blankness to the land casts an eerie tone.

The movie centers around the seemingly intelligent Hank Mitchell (Bill Paxton), his less-than-bright brother Jacob Mitchell (Billy Bob Thorton) and Jacob's friend Lou. Hank's wife (Bridget Fonda) adds another level to the movie through her interesting relationship with her husband.

While the three men journey through the woods on the outskirts of the town, they encounter, by blind luck, a wrecked plane containing a bag with more than $4 million inside.

This is when the story begins to tug on viewersâ strands of ethics and morality. As the characters in the movie argue about turning the money in to the authorities or greedily keeping it, the movie does well by making the audience members question themselves and how they would act in the situation.

After the thoughtful trio decides not to return the money, the plot begins to thicken as the characters try to keep the town folk from knowing about the plane wreck or the money. The characters slowly start digging themselves in deeper and deeper into their lie.

The direction and acting in the movie is done amazingly well and is sure to keep you at the edge of your seat. Paxton and Thorton shine in their respective roles, making the characters genuinely believable.

One of the draws to the theaters for this film is the director, Sam Raimi. While his name may not ring many bells, his movies have developed quite a cult following.

With movies like The Evil Dead series, Darkman and The Quick and the Dead under his belt, A Simple Plan marks Raimi's first move into a big-budget movie. Of course, directing the intellectual Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and the snooty Xena: Warrior Princess has brought the director to a new level.

People familiar with the director's style will be surprised by this movie. It's suspenseful and definitely not for people with a weak stomach. As the movie progresses, it takes surprising turns that really shock the movie watcher. There is much more to A Simple Plan than one would expect.

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