Denzel Washington, Anne Heche, James Woods, Robert Duvall
| Directed By :
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
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