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Highly under-rated and ignored by most in 2002, "John Q" is one of those movies that is sometimes too intelligent for a viewing public unfamiliar with topics never really thought about in common societal circles (health care and insurance policies, rights of blue-collar citizens, media exploitation, law enforcement practices and over-paid medical specialists). Denzel Washington's young son falls out one day at a little league baseball game. The diagnosis is frightening. Without a new heart, the boy will most definitely die. Washington, a normal everyday citizen, lacks substantial resources and benefits from his insurance to even get his son on a donor's list. It is blatantly obvious that Washington and wife Kimberly Elise are being strangled by red tape in a mercilessly heartless (no pun intended) system. Friends Laura Herring and David Thornton (and seemingly countless other ordinary people) do their best to help the couple raise money and soon it seems that most everything they have is on the market to be sold. Work and more hard work does not get the couple much closer to having the money they desperately need. Washington realizes that time is now of the essence. He has been pushed and pushed again and now he takes it upon himself to push back. As a last resort he literally takes the doctor (James Woods) hostage, along with other bystanders who have nothing to do with Washington's war with the hospitals and insurance organizations. Immediately cops led by Robert Duvall and Ray Liotta surround the hospital and the tenseness builds. Hungry media cronies (who would not help Washington when he had asked earlier) also try to benefit from the misery of all those that are involved with their typical exploitation tactics (one thing Jerry Springer got right). Will Washington's son be saved and is Washington actually willing to take his own life in the venture so his boy can live? "John Q" is a very impressive production from director Nick Cassavetes (showing much of the same ability his late father John showed throughout his career). Screenwriter James Kearns gets to the soul of an American society that has been blinded by economics and inefficient big-wigs who have no business possessing the careers they have. Morality has gone out the window and that "hypocritical oath" that is so prevalent in the medical field seems to be little more than a silly afterthought. "John Q" succeeds everywhere just about except in its ending. The ending is a major mistake that took away from some of the good things accomplished before the final ten minutes. Washington, arguably better here than in recent triumphs like "Training Day" (an Oscar-winning role) and "Antwone Fisher", goes to an even higher plateau here. Much like Al Pacino in the equally under-rated "Dog Day Afternoon" (an admittedly better picture), Washington dominates in a role that thrives on a claustrophobic aspect that cannot be escaped or denied within the film's running time. Duvall and Woods are also solid, as always, but Washington is the man here. Strikingly accurate when pointing the finger at things wrong with America these days, "John Q" is a thought-provoking production that will cause its audience to think and learn about sometimes forgotten aspects of human life. 4 stars out of 5.
Denzel Washington continues to prove why he is one of the best actors in the business with his performance in JOHN Q, a moving, emotional, and tension-charged drama about a family man whose son needs a heart transplant; however, due to financial problems, his insurance won't cover the cost of getting his son on the donor list so John Q decides to take hostages in the hospital until someone arranges for his son to be on the donor list. Despite a preachy and simplistic screenplay, the intense direction and first-rate performances make this film work. I particularly loved Denzel's work here because this was a character unlike he had ever played before...Denzel usually played well-educated, intelligent lawyers and/or businessmen (with the obvious exception of TRAINING DAY), but here Denzel is playing an average Joe...a working stiff, struggling to pay bills and keep food on the table and a roof over his family's head who is driven to extreme measures to protect the family he cherishes so dearly. Washington gets strong support from Robert Duvall, solid as always as the hostage negotiator, James Woods as a wimpy surgeon, Anne Heche as an unsympathetic hospital administrator, and especially Kimberly Elise as John's wife. An emotional drama, wrought with tension, that will rivet you to the screen.
Denzel Washington's portrayal of a desperate dad is excellent and compelling as he struggles to find a way to get his son to be treated and operated immediately, no matter what cost. He takes the whole hospital hostage until he gets it. One may say what he is doing is bad and illegal, but at the same time he stands up to the system, and fights the odds, but hey, he's doing it for his son. I praised him when he said "I don't want to bury my son, I want my son to bury me!" In a way, he's willing to sacrifice himself to save his son. The hostages he takes, seems to support him and the mass of audiences viewing are on his side. And he also seems to be calm and friendly to them too. The ending was also perfect, and overall a great film, and not to mention the great performances from Robert Duvall, James Woods and Ray Liotta of The Good Fellas, who uses his Tommy Vercetti voice again! Gotta love that guy, gotta love that Denzel Washington, recommended for those who love him.
A very well cooked thriller, with every necessary ingredient, and a
plot meant to surprise the viewer.
Full of love, passion, family issues, commercial interests and politics all blended into a magnificent work of art topped with Denzel Washington's performance The film shows many aspects of life, and should be seen by all people to evaluate one's point of view on each of the parallel stories depicted.
The Author takes an everyday situation and sows the seed of self - criticism in every spectator, making this more than a thriller to pass the time away.
The Director plays with the characters as a Master would play his pieces on a chessboard, giving each actor enough role and having a defined objective: to checkmate the audience, and I must say he does this with very few elements, mainly dialog sequences and very few Special effects, thus turning this film into a masterpiece.
Denzel Washington is the perfect choice for this film, due to his ability to play poker face situations, and his ability to play any kind of character he is offered.
I do highly recommend this movie, to see it two, three or more times. Every time one sees the film, gets a new detail to one's collection and a new question to answer. Ideal for family discussion and highly recommended for teenagers
In this movie, with a great acting of Denzel Washington as John Q. I
felt the deep problems of health in the USA. My cousin lives in the
United States (i don't), and she told me a few complaints about this
problem; in the movie i finally understood about that. I don't
understand how, the most powerful country in the world does have such
bad health services to it's people?. For the benefit of the Americans,
i hope that they change this system soon. Denzel puts his hearth on
this movie, playing a normal guy with financial problems and a hard
work; the way that Denzel shows his love to his son is remarkable and
demonstrates why he is one of the actual best actors in Hollywood. If
you have seen Searching for David's Hearth (2004), this is as the other
side of the story.
About the Movie: Denzel Washington plays John Quincy Archibald (John Q.) a husband and father with some financial problems that works almost 20 hours a day on a factory but who can't afford his expenses. John is trying to get a second job in order to earn an extra money. In the middle of this John's son Mike (Daniel E. Smith) is found to have a disease caused by a bigger than normal heart, and the doctors told him that he will die soon if they don't make a heart transplant. Here everything is hard but it gets really harder when John goes to the insurance company and get the notice that his insurance suddenly don't cover this type of procedures. John and his wife Denise (Kimberly Elise) start to make everything possible to collect the money (a lot of money) needed just to get his son on the donor's list, with their son dying an not much money, John desperate and takes the hospital's emergency room staff and patients hostage, demanding for to his son to be put on that list and that doctors do the transplant. The story evolves emotionally deep trough all this; in a remarkable script.
About the Cast: Denzel Washington put his soul onto this role, being by far the best of all!!, Kimberly Elise does good too, but a little exaggerated sometimes, Daniel Smith as Mike is pretty poor in his acting, he didn't had to do that much but this kid (sorry) still isn't a good actor; he has years to perfect his performance. James Woods acting as Dr. Raymond Turner, as always is very good and professional, also Anne Hache as Rebbeca Payne is great and show a coldness that ripped me out. Robert Duvall acting is good but his character could have been deployed even more, for the good of the film. Ray Liotta does good; Eddie Griffin is good too as one of the characters of the emergency room (Wow, this was a great cast!)
8/10! Excellent for Denzel Washington performance!
Despite what people have said, this movie is NOTHING like Dog Day Afternoon. The only similarities between the two is that both films have to do with holding a public place hostage (In Dog Day Afternoon it was a Bank in John Q, its a hospital). Sure, you see a sort of homage to Dog Day Afternoon in John Q, but thats it, the movie has its own plot. I enjoyed this film, Denzel Washington is really believeable as the down-on-his-luck father, and the rest of the supporting cast executed their characters very well. Most notably the great Robert Duvall as the hostage negotiator and Ray Liotta as the stuck-up police chief. I won't say more about this movie other than it is heart-breaking and you can almost feel the pain frustration John Q has to go through. 4 stars out of 5.
Once again Denzel Washington has outdone himself in this delightful movie. I am getting spoiled when ever I go to see one of his pictures, as his depth is constantly great. Mr. Casavettes does a fine directing job in this poinient story, but with bits of humor thrown in to break up the tension. This may not be academy award material, but it certainly is worth the price of a ticket. Go see it, you won't regret it.
John Q (Denzel Washington) is just an average man, he works at a
factory and his wife and his son Michael are his whole world. When his
son is taken ill and needs an needs an urgent heart transplant, he soon
learns that his insurance won't cover the bills and he has no real hope
of raising the cash himself. In an act of desperation he holds the
emergency room hostage, it's all he can do to get his son the care he
I felt the film was fundamentally flawed, yet it was made and performed with such passion and realism, what at first seems like a far-fetched plot is soon forgotten about, and you have to just go with the flow of this emotionally charged drama.
The cast is very strong, and the direction holds the story together very nicely; but most of all it achieves what it sets out to do, and that is move the audience.
Starring: Denzel Washington, Kimberly Elise, Robert Duvall, and ray Liotta.
John Q. is basically what the tagline says it is. You leave a father no options, you leave him no choice. That's pretty much true. Washington plays John Q. Archibald, a loving husband and caring father who must come up with 250,000 dollars to pay for his son' heart transplant or watch him die. You got to see how the hospital is unfair to John. He even states that it gives 75,000,000 dollars worth of heart transplants for free to a certain amount of people and they wouldn't give it to him from good will. John an his family are very poor and you see how hard it is for him to do this. He takes the hospital hostage to get his son a heart transplant. The movie is very solid and intelligent. There couldn't have been a better actor for John than Denzel. He is one of the greatest actors of our time and he helps prove it here. Don't listen to what Ebert says and go rent this movie.
It's no secret that America has a health care crisis where about 50 million people are uninsured in this country. The story about John Q. is about his battle to save his son's life when the hospital and health insurance companies have failed his young son by declining to put his name on the heart transplant list. Two time Oscar Winner Denzel Washington does his best to bring life into this character that any other actor would not be able to do. Kimberly Elise is also admirable in her role as his wife. Anne Heche's performance as Rebecca Payne, the hospital administrator, is quite sickening because she plays the bureaucracy part of the role but she does it well. She can act as well. James Woods plays the rich, blood-sucking doctor who John Q. takes hostage along with other innocent bystanders and hospital staff but John Q. has a heart too. Ray Liotta and Robert Duvall have supporting roles as the police chief and hostage negotiator trying to get John Q. to end the standoff. The actions are understandable since a parent would do anything to save their child's life from known death.
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