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(Review originally written at 16 April 2008)

This movie can definitely been seen as a poor man's "Fargo". It uses similar settings, story and characters. It wouldn't however call "A Simple Plan" a rip off, although this movie perhaps shows a bit too many similarities at times, with its characters for instance. Biggest difference is that this movie is not as subtle as the earlier mentioned "Fargo", which is the reason why it's also not as good but the movie knows to be a pretty enjoyable one on its own right.

The movie features a good main plot about an average man who tries to scam an insurance company and collect on the life insurance of his 'death brother'. Of course he gets himself deeper and deeper into trouble, when the men who killed the man that the Robin Williams character used as the body of his 'death brother' show up and the insurance company investigator smell that something fishy is going on. On top of that he also has a wife who is on the brink of insanity. It's of course the kind of story that provides the movie with plenty of opportunities and potential to grow out into becoming a good fun movie. The movie also doesn't really fail in this but the story is perhaps also a bit too predictable to make this movie look like a clever and well thought out one.

This movie is in line with Robin Williams' more serious roles, of the past few years. Yes, this movie is still a comedy but it's not the type of comedy you would normally expect from a movie starring Robin Williams as the movie's main lead. He plays his role humble and restrained, even in the more comical parts, which helps to make his character more believable and easier to identify with. This of course also uplifts the movie as a whole. But perhaps the most surprising role is being played by Giovanni Ribisi. I even dare to say that he out-acts everyone within this movie. It was definitely the best role I've seen from him till date. The rest of the supporting cast is also impressive with actors such as Holly Hunter, Tim Blake Nelson (who both also appeared in Coen brother's movies. Coicidence?) and Woody Harrelson.

I just wished the style was a bit more coherent at times. At certain points the movie gets really silly with its comedy, which is not in the same line as the more subtle approach of the comedy and characters within most part of the movie. Other than that it's a well made movie, with a good overall style and way of story-telling.

Not a must-see but simply a good enjoyable movie, that will be worth your time.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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