Film: Fargo

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Film:

Fargo

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: MGM (Video & DVD)

Leave it to the wildly inventive Coen brothers (Joel directs, Ethan produces, they both write) to concoct a fiendishly clever kidnap caper that’s simultaneously a comedy of errors, a Midwestern satire, a taut suspense thriller, and a violent tale of criminal misfortune. It all begins when a hapless car salesman (played to perfection by William H. Macy) ineptly orchestrates the kidnapping of his own wife. The plan goes horribly awry in the hands of bumbling bad guys Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare (one of them being described by a local girl as “kinda funny…

Reviews

Amazon.com

Leave it to the wildly inventive Coen brothers (Joel directs, Ethan produces, they both write) to concoct a fiendishly clever kidnap caper that’s simultaneously a comedy of errors, a Midwestern satire, a taut suspense thriller, and a violent tale of criminal misfortune. It all begins when a hapless car salesman (played to perfection by William H. Macy) ineptly orchestrates the kidnapping of his own wife. The plan goes horribly awry in the hands of bumbling bad guys Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare (one of them being described by a local girl as “kinda funny lookin’” and “not circumcised”), and the pregnant sheriff of Brainerd, Minnesota (played exquisitely by Frances McDormand in an Oscar-winning role) is suddenly faced with a case of multiple murders. Her investigation is laced with offbeat observations about life in the rural hinterland of Minnesota and North Dakota, and Fargo embraces its local yokels with affectionate humor. At times shocking and hilarious, Fargo is utterly unique and distinctly American, bearing the unmistakable stamp of its inspired creators. —Jeff Shannon

Barnes and Noble

The Coen brothers (Blood Simple, Barton Fink) scored their biggest critical success with this darkly funny thriller set in a small, winter-bound Minnesota town. The story revolves around a kidnapping that goes awry and the efforts of a quiet, efficient—and very pregnant—police chief (Frances McDormand) to solve a series of increasingly gruesome murders. McDormand won an Oscar for her marvelously understated portrayal of a kind-hearted, coffee-swilling sleuth, but the whole cast—including William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi—is superb, delivering the kind of offbeat, stylized performances that are a Coen brothers trademark. Music by regular Coen collaborator Carter Burwell sets a moody tone, beautifully evoking the long nights and frozen expanses of a Minnesota winter. Holding it all together is the directors’ complete confidence in their own sensibility; despite the film’s mainstream recognition—it got an Oscar nomination for best picture—Fargo shows no hint of Hollywood compromise. The film is distinguished by the brothers’ unique and very black sense of humor, right down to the foot poking out of the wood chipper. Gregory Baird

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