UK Release date: 21st May 1999
Watched on Sky+ Monday 17th December 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I remember this one being mentioned on a film review TV show I watch many years ago. I can’t remember what the review said exactly, but from the fact it was included I knew it might be worth a look. Scanning the TV listings the other week I came across this familiar sounding title and decided to put it in my planner. So what did I think? Well I’ll tell you after this very brief summary.
When three men; brothers Hank (Bill Paxton) and Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jacob’s friend Lou (Brent Briscoe) stumble across a crashed plane in the snow they have no idea just what trouble this discovery will bring. You see there’s a bag in the wreckage containing over four million dollars. They could all do with the money but decide to allow Hank to hold onto it until the plane is discovered. Hank and his wife, Sarah (Bridget Fonda) are expecting a baby and Hank finds he can’t keep the money a secret from her. Of course they want to do the right thing but then they think about all the advantages the money could bring them. And so it stays hidden; but how long can they keep the secret; and how long will it be before Lou or Jacob begin to think about taking the money from Hank? I’ll leave it there or I might give too much away.
All the performances are very good but I thought Billy Bob Thornton was truly excellent in this. He really nailed his performance of this slightly dim-witted man who is, at heart, quite lonely. Also worthy of note were Bill Paxton and Bridget Fonda. Aside from the performances I did find this one didn’t quite hold my attention the way I felt it should and I also found it a little over-long. Yes, it’s very dramatic and the audience is given plenty of time to engage with the various characters, but even so I did find my mind wandering in a few places. The plot did put me in mind of an old western; ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre’ I think it was; a film about greed when a big gold strike is made. As far as the production goes, well it did feel like I was watching a TV movie rather than a theatrical release. Over all, great performances (particularly BBT) but I felt the production let it down a tad… Still, worth a look.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED (…if a little slow)
My score: 6.8/10
IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 36,050 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 82/100: (Based on 28 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 75/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 37,351 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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[noticing the crows in the trees overhead]
Jacob Mitchell: Those things are always waiting for something to die so they can eat it. What a weird job.
Lou Chambers: It's the American Dream in a goddamn gym bag!
Hank Mitchell: You work for the American Dream. You don't steal it.
Lou Chambers: Then this is even better.
Sarah Mitchell: Nobody'd ever believe that you'd be capable of doing what you've done.
Neil Baxter: Well, it looks like we're both going to have a lot of explaining to do.
Hank Mitchell: Just me.