A Simple Plan ★★★★½

"Those things are always waiting on something to die, so they can eat it..."

Even before the bullets fly, the characters of A Simple Plan are surrounded by death. Crows are everywhere, there's a scene at a graveyard, and we hear "Spirit in the Sky" on someone's car radio. As the story progresses, the film examines whether or not each character is capable of inflicting death, in order to satisfy their own greed. Inevitably, the prospect of wealth changes them, warping their otherwise unassuming personalities until they are comfortable with doing evil things.

Sam Raimi's mature and minimalistic direction is key to the movie's success, as he chooses instead to let the actors carry the weight of the drama through their performances. It's a wise choice, as actors like Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton produce some of the best work of their careers. Praise must also go to Alar Kivilo's stark cinematography, which creates a cool, creepy atmosphere - the fact that the narrative takes place entirely in winter certainly helps in that regard.

A Simple Plan is suspenseful, emotional, and all too realistic. It's a story that makes you question your own morality, and stands as one of the best thrillers of the 90's.

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