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A 2002 film starring Denzel Washington as John Q. Archibald, a father whose son has just fallen victim to a terrible heart condition, which requires a transplant within a fairly short amount of time. Unfortunately for John, he soon finds out that due to his company's change in health coverage, his HMO will not allow compensation for the procedure. After expending all his other options in attempts to find financing for his son's operation, John makes a desperate choice by holding a hospital emergency room hostage until he is guaranteed an operation for his son. The film also stars Robert Duvall as Lt. Frank Grimes, Anne Heche as Rebecca Payne, and James Woods as Dr. Raymond Turner.
This film shows examples of:
- Air Vent Passageway: Used to get into the emergency room.
- And This Is For: -- Has one scene involving a guy attempting to take down John Q while his girlfriend instead, mace sprays 'him' and not John Q, in addition to kicking him down, even in the groin.
- Author Tract/Anvilicious: The film is an extended parable against the American health industry, and is very heavy-handed in getting its message across. Whether this particular anvil needed to be dropped, of course, is entirely up to the viewer.
- Bad Cop, Incompetent Cop: They sent a sniper to kill a guy talking with his family on the phone. While he had no hostage under weapon aim. I mean, would it be to costly to give a non-fatal shot?! And they degrade to the point of telling him that his feelings for his son's death is meaningless.
- Billy Needs an Organ: The central conflict of the film
- Chekhov's Gunman: The woman who dies in the opening scene.
- Domestic Abuse: One of the kidnapped patients is a mean drunk...
- Double Meaning Title: The title John Q. refers both to the main character's name and the term "John Q. Public", which is a symbol for the common man.
- Fox News Liberal: It's not hard to tell what side of the health-care debate these writers came out on the side of
- Good Doc Bad Doc: The kidnapped doctors and nurses get into it during a debate over HMO coverage
- Hostage Situation: A rare case where the audience is actually rooting for the kidnapper.
- Hell, even the hostages were rooting for him(most of them, anyway).
- Justified Criminal: John only creates the Hostage Situation out of despiration for his son's life
- Karma Houdini: The police guys who tried killing John disnecessarely because it was Election Year. Almost happened with Payne, but the guilt stab to her heart may or may have not been sufficient.
- Mistaken Identity: Towards the end of the film, one of the hostages pretends to be John by dressing in his coat and hat, in order to give John a chance to watch his son's operation
- Moral Dilemma: John seems to be going through a series of these during the entire Hostage Situation
- Police Are Useless: Well, at least the Chief of Police and those how listen to him
- Shout-Out: To bodybuilding. John's son is a big fan and references several past time legends in the sport. There are even pictures hung all over his room.
- Spiritual Successor: A Race Lift remake of Dog Day Afternoon, right down to the the awesome "Attica!! Attica!!" scene where John turns an angry public against the police.