Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fargo - The Re(al) - view

What an incredible film!


Fargo is about the investigation of a series of murders that take place after a car salesman hires two criminals to kidnap his wife, but everything doesn't go according to plan. Simple plot right? Wrong!
The Coen brothers (who directed, produced and wrote the film) told it in a rather unique manner, filled with characters that are rather quirky. The script (which won an Academy Award) was top notch as its segue from disturbing violence to hilarious scenes was superb.

Marge Gunderson
The acting in Fargo was incredible, because it felt as if the characters were tailor-made for the actors (actually two were, that I know of) and this led to an iconic performance from Frances McDormand as Marge Gunderson (which she won an Academy Award for), the pregnant police chief of Brainerd, as a lovely, smart and quick police officer who uses her wits very subtly and humanizes the compassionate tone of the film. While another worthy mention is Steve Buscemi as Carl Showalter, one of the criminals the car salesman, Jerry Lundegaard (played by William H. Macy), to kidnap his (Jerry) wife. Carl's a character that was tailor-made for Buscemi, thus letting him take on the role wonderfully, plus his natural ability to be "funny looking" was stunning. Now that's wonderful film production.


The location for Fargo is ice cold, shot mostly in Minnesota; which embodied the underlying tone of the movie - Dark and Violent. It reflects how cold human actions could be especially a twisted character like Gaear Grimsrud (played by Peter Stormare), with brilliant shots of the characters and their violent actions in the snow covered town of Fargo, like the murder of the State Patrol Officer and the couple on the highway.

The script for Fargo is rather unique, the adaptation of the Minnesota nice and North Central American English accents added to the film an authenticity that is only found in indie films and period adaptations. The use of words like Yah and Yah, you betcha brought on an originality that is rarely explored in motion pictures.


Like all Coen - related films, Fargo wasn't without its wackiness, just watch the kidnap scene and you would see it for yourself.

Although the opening text for the film says - "This is a true story", it is false. The Coens later admitted that they added that disclaimer so the viewer would be more willing to suspend disbelief in the story. While the specific crimes in the movie didn't happen, the plot has elements of two well-known Minnesota crimes.

That's a wood chipper!
Fargo is a film that takes you on a journey to see the (stupid) things people will do to make an extra buck, and the murderous ripple that occurs after an ill-conceived decision; at the very end it makes you wonder why people make certain decisions  ... leaving you sad in the process. Fulfilled! But... sad.

FYI - Yah was said 181 times throughout the film, plus I'm still wondering what happened to that briefcase full of money.