A Simple Plan ★★★★

An absolute lean and effective character-based crime-thriller. It expertly navigates its plotting and tragic failing from a very understandable human place making us identify with moral failings and removes the audience from a place of safety. Money, material wealth, and consumption are all tied in with the American dream. Here, rural America plays as the backdrop for greed and temptation. Rami comfortably navigates the character dynamics and makes time to explore the character's backgrounds along with gradually escalating tensions. Every person's POV are finely tune, their motivations and fears well realized. Everything goes from bad to worst and it is hard to look away as it does. Paxton, Fonda, Briscoe, and especially Thornton (this might be his career-best performance) are all well chosen. The muted color scheme makes the winter wasteland feel more ominous reflecting the morality tale at hand. Rami's normal visual flourishes (while occasionally seen) are mostly restrained. Which, as much I love Rami, I think was a wise choice. It keeps the drama at hand from feeling overdone or too theatrical. I would be very curious to see how this holds up to repeat viewings. As with so many thrillers, sometimes something is lost when you know where you are going (and believe me, there are plenty of surprises here) but I have a suspicion given how well crafted the character dynamics are this will hold up really well.

Michael liked these reviews