John Q
Starring:
Denzel Washington, Anne Heche, James Woods, Robert Duvall
Directed By :
Nick Cassavetes
Grade
B-

John Q is a movie that most people will sympathize with, throughout the movie you are thinking to yourself "If I was in his position, I would do the exact same thing!" Denzel Washington plays John Q. Archibald, your average, working-class guy; he works at a steel plant, has a wife and a kid who plays little league baseball, and drives a rusted, beat up truck. He has bills up to his ears, and the movie begins with his wife's car being repossessed, they can't afford the bill because he has been cut back to 20 hours a week at the plant.

Later that day at a little league game, his son Mike (Daniel E. Smith) is running the bases when suddenly, his eyes roll up in his head and he collapses. He is rushed to the hospital, where we learn from Dr. Turner (James Woods) that he has a bad heart, and will not survive more than a few weeks without an expensive heart transplant. The Archibald's assume that since they have insurance, all is covered, right? Wrong. The hospital's financial coordinator, Ms. Payne (Anne Heche) informs them that since their insurance is an HMO, and this is considered elective surgery, that their insurance will not cover the operation. Their son is treated as a "cash account", meaning they will have to come up with $250,000 dollars to cover the transplant.

The Archibald's attempt to get Medicare; they don't qualify because their income is too high. In an attempt to keep their son in the hospital, they sell off furniture, his truck, and take collection money given to them by their church, but to no avail. After a week in the hospital, John learns that they are releasing his son, today. His wife calls, begging him to do something, ANYTHING! John, seeing no other alternative, gets a gun, and takes the emergency room and everyone in it hostage. He locks the doors with chains, and demands that his son is put on the donor list, or he will begin to kill hostages. A police standoff ensues, and this is where the bulk of the movie takes place.

The acting is well done, with only a few exceptions. Denzel is great, and Anne Heche plays the evil, money-grubbing b**** quite well. Robert Duvall, however, is wasted here. He basically plays the same role he did in Falling Down, the veteran cop who knows how to handle the situation, but is not allowed to, and is despised by his superior (Ray Liotta, as the most trigger happy Police Chief I have ever seen in a movie). However, the casting of Eddie Griffin was a great idea, he provides the comic relief that comes at just the right moments, without ruining the drama and suspense of the movie.

Overall, the movie worked for me. It got a bit melodramatic in some parts, but not enough to drag the whole movie down. It also brings up some great points about our medical insurance here in America, and how it is in need of some serious work. Worth checking out.

- - Darken Rahl

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