by Laurent Kelly

Fargo (1996) –  Director:  Joel Coen   Screenplay:  Joel and Ethan Coen   Starring: Frances Mcdormand, William H Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stomare  OSCAR COUNT (2) Wins for Best Original Screenplay and Best Lead Actress

SYNOPSIS: A man in need of desperate cash comes up with a poorly thought out plan to have his wife kidnapped and pocket the ransom money from her father. The chaos escalates from there….  

Fargo is a deceptively mature film in spite of the whacky nature of the plot. It expertly shows how weak minded people make stupid decisions and the senseless nature of violence which can never lead anywhere positive. In the end we see that the simple life with all its kind virtues appears to be the key foundations  to happiness and that it is possible to not be polluted by the corrupt nature of the planet.

This theme is explored through the actions of heroine Marge Gunderson who is able to balance her life as a  loving wife with her role as a police officer. She does what she has to do at work in solving grisly cases but when she returns home she is able to  live a good and simple lifestyle with her husband. This is best exemplified when after solving a highly intense, adrenalin pumping case she is still able  to express genuine joy over her husband Norman whose wildlife work has been selected for use on a postage stamp.

In regards to the actual plot itself, the sequences are sharp and superb with some Vintage Coen Brothers  black humour peppered in every scene. The dialogue in particular is a delight to behold especially in the scenes between loudmouth Carl Showalter and mute Gaer Grimsud as the mismatched and idiotic crime duo.

Plot and story work in perfect unison as we are taken on a weird and wild journey and then shown at the end how it could have all been dealt with differently were it not for the rash and panicky instincts of man.

  DID YOU KNOW?  None of the scenes are actually filmed in Fargo.




One response to “100 GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME – 87: FARGO

  1. And it’s not based on a true story whatsoever, despite the claim at the beginning of the film. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre does the same thing and lies its ass off too. Still, I think both use it to great effect. I mean all stories, whatever the medium, the specifics anyway, are all fabrications.

    Marge is one of my favorite protagonists in the history of film. Most Coen protagonists are though.

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