« This Is Rather Beautiful | Main | What Is Actually Happening, September 15, 2016 »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I don't have time to read the whole thing at the moment, but this begins sort of like No Country for Old Men.


I tried for a minute to figure out why you wanted to know the name of the author of the book on which the movie was based (who also wrote the screenplay): Scott B. Smith. Then I realized you meant I had left off the byline on the post.

The basic starting point is indeed like No Country, but they're very different beyond that.

I was pretty sure who it was, but I thought I'd ask anyway.


Sounds as though the Pardoner's Tale from the Canterbury Tales might have been a template for this. (Something I've thought before of Shallow Grave.)

This is one of my favourite movies. I've seen it a few times, and my admiration for it does not decline. I'm always surprised that it seems not to be very well known.

As Janet noted, the set-up is rather similar to No Country for Old Men, but I think A Simple Plan has more moral insight. I also like to group it with Woody Allen's Match Point, another terrific Your-Sin-Will-Find-You-Out drama.

All three movies are great, Craig. But this one is more under the radar for me. I did go see it when it was first out in theaters but really haven't thought about it since then and now would like to re-watch. For a while there Billy Bob Thornton had quite a run of great movies where he played very different characters.

Nice summary, Mac. It's a very good movie that I've often recommended.

I wouldn't say it has more moral insight than No Country..., but that the moral questions addressed are not exactly parallel, and are expressed differently.

Another good film with a similar moral point is the Aussie film The Square, from 2008. An adulterous couple plans to run away together with cash stolen from the woman's husband, but their attempt to cover up the theft via arson goes very wrong, and things spiral downward from there.

I see No Country as more of a cat-and-mouse film with an overlay of moral reflection (from the perspective of Sheriff Bell) and metaphysics (in the person of Chigurh, as a kind of personification of fate). A Simple Plan is less ambitious, but allows us to observe how ordinary human relationships strain and break under pressure from distrust and selfishness. As you say, maybe that's not quite "more moral insight", but the two films are definitely interested in different things.

I've not heard of The Square; onto the list it goes!

"I wouldn't say it has more moral insight than No Country..., but that the moral questions addressed are not exactly parallel, and are expressed differently."

Yes, I was going to say something like that. To wit: Simple Plan is concerned with the ramifications of personal moral choices, while No Country is more about the whole question of moral evil and its presence in the world. The crucial moral issue in No Country is not the guy's decision to take the money, but the existence of Chigur. The "relationship", so to speak, between the sheriff and Chigur is as important as the relationship between Chigur and ...what is the guy's name anyway?

Cross-posted--I see we were thinking along similar lines.

Paul, it's been too long since I read Chaucer.

Llewelyn Moss is the character in No Country that Josh Brolin plays.

"I've not heard of The Square; onto the list it goes!"

I saw it at a film festival here in 2010. The director, who was in Pittsburgh working on another project, was present at the screening and took some Q&A afterwards.

It's been six years since I've read any Chaucer. Which is also too long.

Not sure why A Simple Plan has gotten lost in the shuffle over the years. It got a fair amount of attention when it was released, and it holds up well.

Doing my part for it.

Did somebody mention Coming Home recently?


If anyone did I don't remember it.

Well, I will write about it this weekend and you can use it when you need it.


Ok, great, thank you.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)