A Simple Plan

Critics Consensus

A riveting crime thriller full of emotional tension.



Total Count: 71


Audience Score

User Ratings: 39,305
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Movie Info

The Mitchell brothers stumble across a downed airplane that contains millions of dollars. They plot to keep the money- but greed causes distrust amongst them.

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Bill Paxton
as Hank Mitchell
Billy Bob Thornton
as Jacob Mitchell
Gary Cole
as Baxter
Jack Walsh
as Tom Butler
Bob Davis
as FBI Agent Renkins
Peter Syvertson
as FBI Agent Freemont
Tom Carey
as Dwight Stephanson
John Paxton
as Mr. Schmitt
Marie Mathay
as News Reporter
Paul Magers
as Anchorman
Joan Steffand
as Anchorwoman
Jill Sayre
as Hospital Nurse
Terry Hempleman
as Dead Pilot
Jay Gjernes
as Bearded Man
Grant Curtis
as Bar Patron
Solomon Abrams
as Bar Patron
Rhiannon R. Savers
as Girl on Sled
Christopher Gallus
as Boy on Sled
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Critic Reviews for A Simple Plan

All Critics (71) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (64) | Rotten (7)

Audience Reviews for A Simple Plan

  • Sep 16, 2016
    Such a suspenseful film. A basic dynamic that is executed flawlessly. Top notch acting and writing.
    Brandon S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 25, 2014
    Powerful and intense, Sam Raimi's drama is a forgotten gem in the director's career. Boasting a strong script and very human characters from Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thorton and Bridget Fonda, there is very little reason for why this shouldn't be missed.
    Samuel R Super Reviewer
  • Sep 20, 2014
    Fairly simple and straightforward movie about what the promise of a better and more prosperous life can cause seemingly normal and decent people to do. Basically it's a film about the search for the American dream and what people do in order to achieve it. Of course, the film elaborates on that theme by making the characters shades of grey instead of black and white. For the most part, at least. Bill Paxton's character, and his wife, come across more unlikable that Jacob, or even Lou, in the sense that Hank has a stable job and a happy household. The job may not pay him much, but it's noticeable that he and his wife are very happy together. The money changes all of that as it reveal Hank's and Sarah's real colors as they conspire to find a way to oust Lou and taking his share of the money by framing him for a murder that Hank committed. Lou ends up being a more sympathetic figure even though he came across as a massive asshole at the start of the film. So the film doesn't have as many shades of grey as you'd think. The film is extremely well-made. Visually it reminds me of a Fargo with that small-town mentality. And the film is certainly very suspenseful, it's well-paced and well-constructed. The acting, for the most part, is quite good. And I say quite good because I've never found Bill Paxton to be that good, at all. He still has the same robotic delivery and there are some scenes that require him to cry which are just plain laughable. Billy Bob Thornton is incredibly sympathetic in his role. This is a man whose conscience is eating away at him. Everything he's had to do in order to make sure that nobody finds out that they took the money, it's leading him down a path of self-destruction. In the end ***SPOILERS*** he forces his own brother to kill him as he doesn't want to live his life with this black cloud hanging over him. The ending is also pretty great in that it makes everything Hank and Sarah pulled off, the murders, the lies, the manipulation, in order to keep the money, completely and utterly pointless as the moment they spend some of that money, it'll be directly traced back to them. They're in exactly the same situation as they were at the beginning of the movie, but they're far worse off. The promise of those $4 million completely corrupted them down to the core, and now that they didn't get to keep it, they will probably never be happy again. I thought the ending was excellent to be perfectly honest. Simple, but very effective. I didn't think the film was great, I think it probably hasn't aged as well as it could, but this is still a taut thriller and well-worth watching. It won't offer any surprises or twists, but it's a damn good movie nonetheless.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Oct 05, 2012
    Fabulous dramatic tension here that focuses on greed and how that can pull people apart. Nice interactions between Paxton and Billy Bob.
    John B Super Reviewer

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