Fargo - An Absurdist Comedy And A Clever Thriller

                              'Perfect crime gone wrong' has long been an almost irresistible movie thriller theme. Fargo, a black-comedy thriller takes this basic storyline and applies a new twist. The movie is based on the true events from 1987, and the events shows that, what can happen when the police and criminals are equally dimwitted. 

                            Fargo takes place in the dead of winter, in North Dakota. There's snow everywhere you see. Similar to the color of snow, the movie is unpretentious, unexpected, and except for a couple of brief scenes of violent brutality, low-key, one of the most hilariously twisted murder mystery. The film was a critical success and a box-office success in 1996, and it also came away with Oscars for Best Actress (Frances McDormand) and Best Original Screenplay (Joel and Ethan Coen). Iconoclastic movie-makers Joel and Ethan Coen manage the precarious balancing act of respecting genre conventions and simultaneously pushing them to an almost surrealistic extreme.

         Fargo begins with a car salesman, Jerry Lundegaard (William H.Macy), talking to a pair of thugs, Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare), about doing a kidnapping. Jerry is down on his luck, and figures out that he only way to get some of the money of his rich father-in-law is to have his own wife kidnapped. Jerry wants the pair of kidnappers to ask a ransom of $80,000, and when the cash is paid out, Jerry is supposed to receive a 50% cut, as well as the safe return of his wife.  

             Unluckily, with these two incompetent crooks, things are bound to go wrong, and Carl and Gaear are soon leaving a trail of dead bodies behind them. Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), a local cop is given the task of investigating the murders, and it's only with an amazing assist from fate that she ends up on the right track. 

               "Fargo" is definitely blessed by its first-rate cast. Marge Gunderson, the police chief, is the heart and soul of "Fargo." Without her, this snow-driven film noir might have been an ugly, mean-spirited movie. Frances McDormand as Marge performs as a fundamentally decent person that you have to wonder how she manages to get mixed up in all misconduct  going on in this movie. McDormand's Marge is one of the best written and most fully realized film character. 

                   Peter Stormare is all calm and unpredictable, while Buscemi is the nervous and talkative type. They're really amusing together, their brutality only matching their stupidity. William Macy with his vigorous performance as Lundegaard matches McDormand's Marge. Macy's Lundegaard is a coward and a laughable schemer, but he also projects a pathos that could make you weep

                    Besides being gifted writers, Coen brothers are brilliant directors. Joel Coen's direction shows maturity and mastery of form in balancing the plainspoken and the brutal. The brilliance of Coen brothers movies are not in adventure or excitement, it's in the details. The details here are the the wonderfully understated dialogue, sly performances and stark cinematography by Roger Deakins, that delivers the frost-biting sense of frigid winters. The cinematography has a feel for time and place that are essential to its success, and it also gives a claustrophobic feel. 

                   "Fargo" is a reasonably engaging crime drama, and a wonderfully funny film too, which is a neat balancing act to pull off. Parts of it feel comfortable and old, but just when you start to relax, the Coens throw in a new surprise. “Fargo” is not for the squeamish, but an effective little morality play and a very engrossing film.


Fargo - IMDb 


Raghav said...

One of my all time favourites, gives dark comedy a whole new meaning.

Haricharan Pudipeddi said...

What a movie! Coen brothers at their best. I throughly enjoyed watching this film :) Good one once again

FolkTalesUrbanLegends said...

This is my favorite movie along with Casablanca; seen it 6 times already. This movie deserves greater audience. I'd been waiting a long time for you to write a review about this. Good one.

Arun Kumar said...

@Raghav, My favorite black comedy too, and one of the best coen brothers movies.

@Haricharan, Thanks for the comment.

@sandeep, Thanks for the comment. Yeah, it deserves a larger audience, but many might miss the dark comedy.

Meoww said...

I remember only one scene from that movie. Something that i dont want to, really. I really couldnt analyse anything after seeing that scene.

Sorry to say, i always get reminded of that scene everytime i see William H Macy. Sure, it made a mark on my mind....... :(

Drew Grimm Van Ess said...

This movie is pure gold! Great review.

I like your style of reviewing and your page is well done, good job.

If you are into horror films swing by my page.


Arun Kumar said...

@Meoww, Yeah, i also could picture that particular brutal scene.

@Grimm, Thanks for the comment. Keep visiting the blog.