Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Nick Cassavetes|
|Produced by||Mark Burg|
|Written by||James Kearns|
|Music by||Aaron Zigman|
|Edited by||Dede Allen|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
John Q. is a 2002 American thriller film directed by Nick Cassavetes. The film follows John Quincy Archibald (Denzel Washington), a father and husband whose son is diagnosed with an enlarged heart and then finds out he is unable to receive a transplant because HMO insurance will not cover it; therefore, he decides to hold up the hospital and force them to do it.
The film also stars Robert Duvall, Anne Heche, James Woods, Ray Liotta and Eddie Griffin, among others. The film was shot in Toronto, Hamilton, Ontario, and Canmore, Alberta, although the story takes place in Chicago.
The beginning scene starts off with a woman driving dangerously down a winding road. She is recklessly passes cars until she comes upon a slow moving Mack truck. As she goes to pass, her car is clipped by a truck going in the opposite direction, then slammed full-force by the Mack, killing her. John Quincy Archibald and his wife Denise witness their young son Michael collapse at his baseball game. After a series of tests at the hospital, John is informed by Dr. Raymond Turner and Rebecca Payne, a hospital administrator, that Michael has an enlarged heart and will need a transplant. Because the company he works for dropped John from full-time to part-time, his health insurance has been changed, and the new policy does not cover the surgery, leaving them to raise $75,000 to get their son's name on the donor list. The family tries to raise the money but are only able to come up with a third of the necessary payment. The hospital tires of waiting and releases Michael; Denise urges John to do something. Unwilling to let his child die, John walks into the hospital ER with a handgun, gathers hostages, and sets demands: his son's name on the recipient list as soon as possible. The hostage negotiator, Lt. Frank Grimes, stands down to let John cool off.
Meanwhile, John and the eleven hostages learn more about each other. They begin to understand John's situation and support him a little as he ensures each of them receive the treatment they came to the emergency room for. One of them, Miriam, is pregnant, and her husband Steve is hoping that their first child is healthy. A young hostage, Julie, has a broken arm, and she and her boyfriend Mitch claim that a car crash caused it. Due to holes in their story, John and another hostage, Lester, conclude the two are lying and that Mitch beat up Julie. After a while, John agrees to release some hostages to have his son's name added to the list an hour afterward. He releases Steve, Miriam, and a hostage named Rosa with her baby.
The Chicago Chief of Police, Gus Monroe, gives a SWAT unit permission to insert a sniper into the building via an air shaft. John is shot but ends up receiving only a minor wound, which is treated right away. After taking the shot, the sniper's leg falls through the ceiling tiles. Outraged, John pulls him out of the air shaft and beats him up. Using the bound SWAT policeman as a human shield, he steps outside to the sight of dozens of policemen pointing weapons at him and a large, supportive crowd. John demands that his son be brought to the emergency room. The police agree to his demand in exchange for the SWAT sniper.
Once his son arrives, John reveals to the hostages his intention to commit suicide so his heart can be used to save his son. He persuades Dr. Turner to perform the operation, and two of his hostages bear witness to a will stating his last request. John says his last good-byes to Michael and enters the operating room. He loads a single bullet into the gun and pulls the trigger, but the safety is on. As he prepares to end his life a second time, his wife learns about an organ donor (which happens to be the female driver that was killed in the beginning of the movie) who has been flown to the hospital for organ recovery. She runs to the emergency room and stops John from shooting himself, and John allows the hostages to go free. Michael is given the life-saving operation and, after watching the procedure with Denise, John is taken into police custody. At his trial, all of the witnesses speak on his behalf. He is later acquitted of charges of attempted murder and armed criminal action but is found guilty of kidnapping. It is never revealed what his sentence for the crime will be, but his lawyer is overheard saying that no judge will give him "more than three to five (years)" and that she will try and get it reduced to two.
- Denzel Washington as John Quincy Archibald
- Kimberly Elise as Denise Archibald
- Daniel E. Smith as Michael "Mike" Archibald
- James Woods as Dr. Raymond Turner
- Anne Heche as Rebecca Payne
- Robert Duvall as Lt. Frank Grimes
- Ray Liotta as Chief Gus Monroe
- Shawn Hatosy as Mitch Quigley
- Heather Wahlquist as Julie Byrd
- David Thornton as Jimmy Palumbo
- Laura Harring as Gina Palumbo
- Troy Beyer as Miriam Smith
- Kevin Connolly as Steve Maguire
- Troy Winbush as Steve Smith
- Vanessa Branch as Nurse
- Eddie Griffin as Lester Matthews
- Martha Chaves as Rosa Gonzales
- Larissa Laskin as Dr. Ellen Klein
- Ethan Suplee as Guard Max Conlin
- Obba Babatundé as Sgt. Moody
- Paul Johansson as Tuck Lampley
- Dina Waters as Debby Utley
- Keram Malicki-Sánchez as Freddy B.
- Stephanie Moore as Admitting Nurse
- Gabriela Oltean as Beautiful BMW Driver
In Blu-ray DVD commentary on the Deleted Scenes with Cassavetes and writer James Kearns, the main theme of the movie was said to be "about a miracle and John's faith in God creating the miracle". They also mentioned how SWAT team advisors for the film related a similar true incident in Toronto where a man (Henry Masuka) took an ER hostage after it would not provide immediate service to his infant son on New Year's Eve 1999. When he exited the ER he was shot and killed and found to be carrying an unloaded pellet gun. A character building scene at the beginning of the film was shot in Cambridge, ON at a manufacturing facility owned by Babcock & Wilcox. Washington is shown using a grinder as he stands over a tubesheet destined for a steam generator for a nuclear power generating facility.
During shots of the news coverage surrounding the hostage situation in the hospital, a cameo by Senator Hillary Clinton occurs. Sen. Clinton argues for healthcare reform, especially in regards to cases like this one.
The film opened in first place at the box office, taking $23,275,194 during its first weekend. It ended up with a total domestic gross of $71,026,631 and $102,244,770 worldwide.
The film received mixed reviews, with a 23% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on the 131 critic reviews available on 25 March 2015, the consensus being that "Washington's performance rises above the material, but John Q pounds the audience over the head with its message." However, on the same date, the Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score indicated that 78% liked the movie, with (168,855) users providing an average 3.5 out of 5 rating. The Metacritic score on 25 March 2015 was 30/100 based on (33) critics ("generally unfavorable reviews"), but (102) Metacritic users rated the movie an average 7.2 out 10 at this time ("generally favorable reviews"). The IMDB rating on 25 March 2015 was a 7/10, based on ratings provided by 87,277 users.
- Health disparities
- Tathastu, a Hindi film (starring Sanjay Dutt and Ameesha Patel) that is an unofficial remake of John Q.
- Dog Day Afternoon, an earlier film with a similar hostage premise
- "Reel Toronto: John Q". online news. Torontoist.
- Audio commentary on the DVD.
- Rush, Curtis (10 December 2011). "In tailspin after police shootings, former SWAT team leader lifts veil on post-traumatic stress syndrome". Toronto Star. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- "Inquest into fatal hospital shooting begins" CBC News, April 17, 2001.
- Rotten Tomatoes- John Q
- "John Q"
- "John Q on IMDB"
- Hooli, Shekhar H. (15 March 2010). "Sugreeva – Review". oneIndia. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- "Tathastu? Or is it John Q?". South Asian Women's Forum. 10 May 2006. Retrieved 29 February 2012.