Director: Sam Raimi
Script: Scott B. Smith
(based on his own novel)
Music: Danny Elfman
Tagline: Sometimes good people do evil things.
What would you do if you stumbled across $4,4 million in a crashed airplane with a dead pilot in the middle of the woods and you thought it possible to get away with taking the money? That's what Hank (Bill Paxton), Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jacob's friend Lou (Brent Briscoe) have to figure out at the beginning of this movie. I guess it goes without saying that they don't call the police. Instead they get caught up in an increasingly messy and violent cover-up, where Hank's wife Sarah (Bridget Fonda) plays a vital role.
That is, to the degree that you would call Fonda's roles vital. More often than not, I find her performances rather flat (which is possibly why she was perfect as the total drughead in Jackie Brown), and the script in this movie doesn't make it terribly easy on her either, as she goes from a decent-seeming person to something far more scheming and monster-like in very few minutes, plotting against Lou holding her newborn baby in her arms. That is one of the key flaws in the movie as I see it, and the main reason why I really don't get the rave reviews it got in 1998.
Also having heard good things about the original novel, I was expecting a lot from this movie. Thornton is easily the best actor of the cast, but that can't cover up the unlikely script. Ok, so the message is we are all easy to corrupt presented with a large enough sum of money. Nothing new about that plot, and I have to agree with the critic who suggested that letting the three men actually call the police would have been a far more original twist. (Yes, even though this movie actually got a 93/86% "fresh" rating, rottentomatoes.com is my friend whenever I need to find critics who disagree with the majority.)
Also, every time this story is told, it seems to me that the wife/girlfriend turns out to be the more cold-blooded. Perhaps this is realistic? But here it just looked to me like the same old story retold. With some really good imagery, granted, but far from the stunning thriller the majority of the critics made it out to be. At least that's my grumpy and disappointed opinion.