Directors: Coen Brothers
Release Date: 8th March 1996
Rating: 18
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title Films, Gramercy Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer

In the middle of nowhere a lot can happen. You wouldn’t believe how many murders go unnoticed in Oswaldtwistle (one a day except Sundays, the day of God) and most people consider that place to be a place of fiction. Only what apparently goes on within it could be considered fiction. Fargo is much the same, as a huge case takes place thanks to a kidnapping gone wrong. Then a lot of other things go wrong. Things always go wrong in the middle of nowhere. 

Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) has a lot of money-making schemes. Parking lot plans to a planned kidnapping of his own wife. They sound okay on paper, but he has a talent for mucking it all up. His wife is kidnapped, the kidnappers mess up and kill three people on their way, and now they want all the money and more of it. Jerry only seems to care about getting the money however so goes about looking for a way to get something out of it, so it’s up to the pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) to sort it all out. Three sets of characters all hoping for something out of this in the snowy Minneapolis.

The film follows the events of the kidnappers, Jerry and Marge and it all runs together smoothly with no hitches or bad pacing. Everyone has a brilliant way of talking. A bit like this, yah? Yah, yah!  And each character leaves a strong impression. Jerry is forever slimy and awkward, Marge is adorable and strong-willed, the kidnapper Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) is a bit of a noisy nutcase while his partner Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) is a quiet one. It’s great how crazy the villains get with their desperate acts for money and Marge is a stark contrast, going about her business in a leisurely but efficient way. It’s amazing how they made what should be a vulnerable character with the pregnancy into the strongest in Fargo.

It’s darkly funny, overly gruesome and hard to predict how the Coen Brothers take the story. The charming characters and exciting ransom plot make Fargo a classic and another Coen success. It almost makes me want to go there and take in the bright blue sky over the snowy plains. Might even stumble across all that money hidden away…


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