A Simple Plan

Rated: R
Runtime: 2 Hours and 1 Minute

Reviewer: Erik
Grade: A

"A Simple Plan" is a scary film, one that takes easygoing characters who get by on little and turns them into bloodthirsty animals who will kill friends and family alike. If this movie offends people, perhaps it's because this could really happen. This movie is scarier than any recent horror movie I've seen, not because of gore and serial killings, but because of what some people will do for money.

Three people -- two brothers and a friend -- find $4 million in a downed airplane on a snow-covered forest. They decide to keep the money, but they want to hold onto it for a few months until the news of the missing plane has passed.

This gets things going. Along the way, one of the trio will demand his money earlier than expected. Another will say the wrong thing to a police officer. One will murder a potential eyewitness and concoct a plan to blackmail another.

Meanwhile, one wife grows accustomed to the idea of having all the money they'll need. This character, as played by Bridget Fonda, has a great scene where she tells her husband how she'd return money that she'd found if it wasn't hers. Then the money is emptied right in front of her, and suddenly, her attitude changes.

Another wife will become the victim of a brutal murder where the details are altered to make it look like a domestic dispute.

And finally, one of the original finders of the money changes his attitude about it. He spends his days drinking too much and feeling evil.

There is not a single flawed performance in this film. Billy Bob Thornton was absolutely ROBBED of an Oscar for his performance. His speech about how money might get him women is desperate and sad, but comes off sincere and touching.

This movie shows how good people can do evil things. It's not a feel-good movie. The end, especially, is quite sad. But it's an important movie that shows exactly how out-of-hand things can get once you throw money into the fray.

My personal pick for best movie of 1998.