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Vigilante? Or heroic father? A story of corporatized medicine

  • Nov 9, 2008
  • by
At the height of the HMO arrogance, Corporatized Medicine believed that they could mistreat human beings in the name of the dollar. I believe, I hope, that their attitude has taken a turn as they realized humanity will not be slapped down. Stir in the extra emotion of organ donation, in which one must die for another to live, and you have the electric tension of John Q.

John Archibald (Denzel Washington) is a good man, a hard worker, who just needs a little more luck and a few more hours at the slow factory job he holds. When his son, Mike (Daniel E. Smith) collapses at a baseball game, he is rushed to the hospital where John and his wife Denise (Kimberly Elise) discover that Mike needs a heart transplant, quickly.

But, John's insurance won't cover it. His company switched his health plan from a PPO to an HMO to save money, and there is no provision for transplantation. Hospital Director Rebecca Payne (played surprisingly well by Anne Heche) demands Mikey's transplant be treated as a cash account, demanding $75,000 down payment before Mike can even get on the donor list. (still think the donation process is not dollar driven?)

John tries to raise the money, but time is running out. In a desperate attempt to save his child, John takes heart surgeon Dr. Raymond Turner (James Woods) hostage, along with the emergency room staff, demanding that his son's name get on the list.

Hostage negotiator Lt. Frank Grimes (Robert Duvall) arrives on the scene, but is hampered by the presence of media-hungry Police Chief Gus Monroe (Ray Liotta). Also present is Tuck Lampley (Paul Johansson) a television reporter hungry for 'The Story' but who is sympathetic to John's plight.

The film is not action packed, but nonetheless has a palpable tension. It's a story of humanity, and the interactions between real people. It's a story about mistakes and redemptions, arrogance and assumptions, and the all too human core inside all of us.

The performances are spectacular. Denzel Washington, James Woods, Robert Duvall, Ray Liotta, Kimberly Elise, Paul Johansson, and (surprise) Anne Heche do phenomenally good jobs in their roles. The photography is excellent, the editing, script, and atmosphere are great, and the musical score matches mood with the film.

'John Q.' is one of those movies I can watch over and over again, and still feel the same emotion I felt the first time I watched it. Though the ending does have some unrealistic qualities, it fits well with the film and doesn't skip over the wrongs that John did to try and make things right for his son. Definitely a 'buy'. Enjoy!
John Q.

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Ranked #47
I want to thank Everyone for welcoming me back! :) I'm here to stay folks, my sabbatical on writing reviews is over and I'll continue to review for Lunch. It's great to be back, too! Thanks again for … more
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About this movie


Starring Denzel Washington, James Woods, Anne Heche, Robert Devall, Ethan Suplee, Ray Liotta
Directed by Nick Cassavetes
Writer: James Kearns

Product Description
Academy Award winner Denzel Washington stars in this powerful drama about a father who takes extreme measures to save his son's life when his insurance company refuses to cover his heart transplant surgery.
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