This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
panos75’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
In the woods of snowy Minnesota, two brothers and their friend stumble upon the wreckage of a small plane. Inside they find two corpses and a bag containing 4 million dollars. All three agree to lay low for a while and then split the money. But greed and mistrust soon overtake them with tragic results.
Who would have thought that Sam Raimi who was known until then for making idiosyncratic and tongue-in-cheek movies could produce such a powerful and bleak drama? "A Simple Plan" could very well have been directed by the great John Huston since its plot is essentially based on a premise he used in most of his masterpieces: a group of people are after an invaluable asset only to discover at the end of their quest that they were chasing a chimera. That they have been deceived and left broken and empty handed. The twist at the end feels like a punch in the gut, or more appropriately a snake-bite that lets the film's poison to run through your veins. There is no ray of light for our protagonists, both figuratively and literally.
The superb script is well-served not only by Raimi's restrained but forceful direction but also by the unglamorous, yet effective cast. Bill Paxton is very good as the every-man and the voice of logic which is constantly ignored by the others. Thornton is excellent as his retarded brother who is torn between loyalty and his desire for a better life. And Bridget Fonda adequately uses her limited screen-time to become a catalyst for the dramatic turn of events, a role not too dissimilar to that of Lady Macbeth.
If you thought "Fargo", with which "A Simple Plan" has many similarities both aesthetically and dramatically, was too depressing then I suggest you skip the latter. Rarely has Hollywood produced such an uncompromisingly pessimistic film. While it's debatable whether evil triumphs at the end, one thing is for sure: your faith in humanity will diminish after you witness the story of Hank and Jacob.