I remember hearing about this at the time it was made, and there was some praise for it tackling the topic of poorer people not receiving medical treatment and the dominance of Medical Insurance in the US. There were also two seemingly good factors about it, the first being Denzel Washinton and Nick Cassavetes. Yet it’s taken until now to actually see the movie, and quite frankly, I wish I’d never wasted my time…that’s an hour and a half I just won’t get back.
The plot is extremely transparent, and from the moment John Q. enters the hospital it becomes a standard and very formulaic hostage movie, complete with copy and pasted characters and situations.
The Police Chief overriding the Negotiator and going in anyway, the Negotiator connecting with the Hostage Taker, and the Hostages connecting with the…you’ve seen it so many times before.
One thing is different though, the moralistic change in James Wood‘s character of the Doctor. One second he’s a money hungry surgeon, and then he just totally caves in and delivers a speech about the injustice of the situation. Oh, give me a break.
The movie is over engineered and overly sentimental. The only good moment was seeing Washinton break up while he talked with his kid. The rest was very poor.
This is a vehicle to tell us all what’s wrong with the US medical system by picking stereotypes and a formulaic story to try and capture you into the movie in order to deliver the sermon. If the movie had been better and the sermon a little less sweet, then perhaps it would be better heard.