A Simple Plan ★★★★

It's hard not to compare Sam Raimi's film to that of the Coen Brothers. Both in the fact that the two sides of the filmmakers origins are interlinked, even as far as to have minor rivalries and injokes in one another's film. But more distractingly so, is the similarities between the snow-bound morality tale and the Coen Brothers' Fargo which predates it by a couple of years.

Whilst I want to judge A Simple Plan on it's own terms, it does offer it an insightful parallel to bounce between. Both seem to be playing a similar rendition of the same song, and whilst the former is ruthless on it's remorseless depiction of it's characters, the latter is more inviting and tantalising, reflecting the audience back to themselves upon every turning point. It initially feels more challenging, although it runs slightly more conventially.

The late Bill Paxton is a character that is constantly pushed, edging ever so slightly towards complete damnation with every turn swallowing his morality more and more. On the side you have Bridget Fonda who interestingly enough switches from idealist in theory to schemer in practice once the stakes are real, adopting an almost Lady Macbeth persona. 

And the true centre of the film, Billy Bob Thornton who is manipulated and misguided through the entire film, unable to take charge, although Raimi and Thornton seen a little at odds when trying to capture what the character really is, a burdenous simpleton or simple a dumb hick, there were moments that just didn't ring true.

It all leads to a pretty effective gut punch ending. There's an overall sense that the film is lacking in gallows humour that punctuates a lot of Raimi's work. Lacking some of that subversion that it seems to desire overall, but it's a rather tight little thriller that was originally overlooked.

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