A straightforward, even restrained, neo-noir thriller may have been the last thing expected from flamboyant horror maestro Sam Raimi, but A Simple Plan stylistically stayed close to its name. Scripted by Scott B. Smith from his bestselling novel, Raimi quietly lets the tension build as brothers Hank and Jacob (Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton), Paxton's wife (Bridget Fonda), and Thornton's friend Lou (Brent Briscoe) attempt to wait out the snowy rural winter before absconding with millions of dollars found in a plane wreck. The deep currents of fraternal and class resentment laid bare by the faltering plan, however, soon corrupt the pristine white landscapes and the deceptively cozy interior of Paxton's home. As acted with comparable delicacy by Paxton and especially Thornton as the less fortunate sibling, the human weaknesses that foil the plot become all the more cruelly, and believably, intense. Praised as a strong piece of taut, well-mounted story-telling, A Simple Plan proved that Raimi could indeed do more than let the viscera fly, and earned Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Thornton.
by Lucia Bozzola review