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John Q
John Q (Soundtrack)

John Q Review

Directed By: Nick Cassavetes.
Starring: Denzel Washington, Robert DuVall, Anne Heche, James Woods, Eddie Griffin.

Synopsis: After collapsing on the baseball field, a young boy is rushed to the hospital where it's discovered that he needs a heart transplant. When the hospital learns that his down-on-his-luck father's insurance won't cover the operation, he's promptly taken off the donor list. As a result, the boys' father takes over the hospital's emergency room until the doctors agree to operate.

John Q is not bad film making. Just cliched.

Now, with that out of my system I can move on. No, not really. I still have bile in my system. I am talking cliched as in we have seen this movie in many forms before and even heard chunks of dialogue.

For example?

Denzel Washington as John Q(uincy) actually says the line: "I'm crossing the line, you're crossing the line, the whole system is crossing the line." Compare that with the dialogue from ...And Just For All. "YOU'RE out of order! YOU'RE out of order! THE WHOLE TRIAL is out of order! THEY'RE out of order!". Fascinating.

Even more fascinating? Take another Al Pacino movie. Dog Day Afternoon, most of the movie taking place in a bank with hostages and at one point Al Pacino's character Sonny comes out front of the bank in plain view of the police and creates havoc...oddly, in John Q, this scene is echoed but far from being dramatic it merely reminds us we could be at home watching Dog Day Afternoon on DVD and be amazed once more at the power of film in some people's hands.

It has nothing to do with the acting. Denzel Washington, he's one of our modern greats. James Woods? Another great...although you fear he might turn psychotic any second. Robert Duvall? An actor's actor. The best in the field. Anne Heche? Well, she's crazy so the fact that she shows up at all is something to view. And Eddie Griffin is the only comic relief in sight, which in the end isn't saying much since the fault that strikes Eddie hits all these actors. It's a pretty lousy script.

Also, bad choices in directing. Nick Cassavetes is not his father (John) whom I may take some flack for this as well, is relatively overrated in the field. John Cassavetes was never a great director but at least a unique and experimental one. Nick shows no unique touches here and is guilty of the worst kind of directing, treating his audience as idiots.

The opening scene is a solid indication of this. A truck barrels into the car of a young woman (and at one point you can see the wires on the car as it gets hit). Scene fades into scenes of John Q's family life, his money problems, his son suffering from heart failure. Boom! We already know the ending. No matter what happens from this point on, this heart is going to be a perfect match for John Q's son and it is going to save his life. Oh, but in case you didn't understand the whole heart failure/son might die is a machine hooked up the child and if the machine goes under the speed of 50 the kid will blow up...or something to that effect.

What's wrong with that? Every single second of suspense has not been muted to the audience saying, 'Get on with it! We know this!'. When John Q puts the gun to his head to blow his brains out and donate his heart to his son we already can't happen. 1) It's Denzel Washington and he is the father/hero! 2) There's already another heart on the way...we know this...and not only do we remember it from the opening scene but we are reminded in scenes that are added throughout. The woman being pulled from the car, a close up on her medic alert bracelet, her organs being removed, etc.

Throw in Ray Liotta as a cop that gets to say the line "...this isn't gonna happen, not on my watch" and top it with Robert Duvall's character being named Frank Grimes...any Simpson's fan will recognize that as a character who was killed off in one of their episodes and you have a heavy handed drama that keeps drawing giggles from viewers for sheer inane stupidity. Again, not a badly made film, just cliched.

If you have nothing better to do in could view this one. I give it one and a half stars for the amount of talent being wasted in it and nothing more.

Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul

DVD Information:

Special Features:
Infinifilm Pop-Up Menus
Filmmaker Commentary
Original Documentary
Deleted Scenes with Optional Director Commentary
Theatrical Trailer
DVD-ROM Features:
Link To Original Website
Settop Content
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1 (Anamorphic)
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround

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Evil Ash

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