Does it ever baffle you how a movie can look so good in a preview, and include such a promising cast
and premise, but turn out being flawed beyond belief? Of course not much is worse than the last bomb Zoolander
which had a promising cast, but John Q. will most likely make you wonder why it wasn't put together better.
Denzel Washington delivers an exceptionally good performance here as a desperate father who will do anything
to save the life of his young boy who's deathly ill. The film he's given to work with has a promising premise
and cast, but is bogged down by an overbearing message against HMOs, poor script-writing, and poorly written
supporting characters. James Woods' cardiologist character Dr. Turner is portrayed as too uncaring and cynical,
as is Anne Heche's flat hospital administrator, Rebecca Payne. Robert Duvall's Lt. Frank Grimes who plays
the hostage negotiator just isn't given much to work with. While a better-written film might allow the kind
of relationship Tommy Lee Jones' character had to Harrison Ford's in The Fugitive, the filmmakers here
just come up short on the strong support here. It's left up to Washington to carry the film himself, and he
succeeds, but only as much as he possibly can with what he's been given. His scenes are enjoyable to watch,
especially with the sufficient characters created to accompany him in the E.R. (with the exception of Mitch
who is an irritating low-life). The most fun to watch is actually Eddie Griffin's character Lester who is there
because of a hand injury. Another thing that failed to help the film was the horrible musical score which did
nothing but detract from each scene it was used in. The film just felt cheapened by it as opposed to a really good
score usually enhancing the moments.
Content-wise the film could have fared better. Language was heavy including 2 "f" words, 1 being said in
the background (for no apparent reason), 1 spoken by Dr. Turner. Violence is moderate. Being in the E.R.,
we briefly see a gunshot victim with a bloody chest. Lester's hand is pretty bloody when he's first shown.
Also, we see some pretty graphic (but brief) shots of a surgery taking place.
The point the film tries to make about the nation's messed up HealthCare plans is a good one, but
by the time you've finished watching the film, you're most-likely going to feel like you've just watched
a CNN debate than a drama. It would have been more acceptable in smaller dosages or if it was handled in a more
realistic and less preachy fashion. While I was annoyed by most reviews I read on the film picking on this issue,
I couldn't help but see their point as I watched the movie.
One thing I was relatively content with, was the film's portrayal of Christianity. John and his wife attend
an obviously Christian church, and his wife even refers to herself as "a Christian woman" while adequately living
up to the label through the character she was portrayed as. Other references to God are made during the film
in a positive light, including Lester suggesting to John that he "let go, and let God."
All in all the film is decent, but not one good enough to recommend. Washington's performance saved what
otherwise might have been a waste of film. The sad part is, with better direction, writing, and music, this
could have been a strong film.
If you have any questions or comments about the film before you see it (if you
decide to), feel free to contact me.
- John DiBiase
Parental Guide: Brief Summary of Content
Sex/Nudity: Mitch's girlfriend wears really short shorts,
but besides that, there isn't really anything.
Vulgarity/Language: 2 "f" words, 9 "s" words, 4 "g*dd*mn," 3 "a-h*le," 6 "a" words,
9 d*mns, 5 h*lls, 2 S.O.B.s, 4 "Swear to G-d," 3 "Oh my G-d,"
3 "J-sus," 2 "J-sus Chr-st" 2 "G-d"
(there were also uses of "b*stard," "b*tch," and many uses of "fr*ggen")
Alcohol/Drugs: Some characters drink beer at the little
Lester has blood all over his hand (we don't know what from, though).
Mitch has scrapes on his arm.
Mitch's girlfriend has a bruise on his face.
A man with a really bloody gunshot wound to his chest is wheeled into the ER on a stretcher.
Turner has blood on his clothes from working on the gunshot victim.
John and Mitch struggle, and after John head-butts him numerous times, Mitch's face is
A man has has a large bloody bandage on him.
John punches a man in the face various times (we see this from a distance). Later we see the man
has some blood on his face because of this.
During a the removal of a heart from a person's body, we see a surgical saw being put towards
the subject for use. While we don't see the actual cutting, we do see some blood spray onto
the doctor's surgical mask.
During a heart transplant, we see a large bloody hole in a person's chest.
We see a large and bloody hole in a person's chest during a heart transplant.
We then see some glimpses of the new heart being brought to the patient and placed inside.
Violence: We see a horrible fatal car accident; A man is stabbed,
A man head-butts another; A man punches another man repeatedly; A man holds a gun to his own head, then puts it in his mouth (but
doesn't do anything). SPOILER WARNING: Later he puts it to his temple again and pulls the trigger, but the safety is on. He proceeds to do so again (but doesn't
go through with it)
** Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most
reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not on content. However, if the content
really affects the reviewer's opinion of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's rating.