Films, Humor, Reviews.

Fargo: A movie that never gets old

Pocket Review, Title Fargo, Studio MGM/UA, Rating 4.5,

Fargo (1996)

Director: Joel Coen

Pocket Review

Clip: Mr. Mora, out at the lake there



Fargo is an almost blissfully surreal take on what the world would be like if everyone had an IQ of 88, building a structure of nincompoopery around a more typical tale of desperate crime gone wrong. This movie could be the Coen brother's extended take on Woody Allen's joke about a village idiot's convention in Love and Death

The first time I saw this movie, I simply didn’t get it, perhaps thrown by the claim at the movie’s opening that this was a true story. I had seen a few other Coen brothers movies, and was impressed by their best efforts, like Raising Arizona and Miller’s Crossing. Fargo came across as too slow and kind of pointless, and certainly not funny. A year or so later, it straggled onto TV reruns, and I started watching it again, and had a completely different reaction.

The pregnant sheriff, played by Frances McDormand, makes this movie; she is the only one in this depressed Minnesota / North Dakota landscape who has any wit. The pacing that had seemed slow in the first viewing turned out to be ideal for unfolding one bad decision, one truculent gesture, one stubborn stance after another.

The movie was shot in the winter, and it adds to the hushed quality of the plot.

The remaining cast nails the nincompoop vibe. William H. Macy plays a desperate embezzler who organizes an even bigger crime to cover it up. Coen brothers regulars Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare play the criminals he hires to carry out a fake kidnapping of his wife. Harve Presnell, the old veteran of musical theater, is amazing as a hard-nosed businessman who doesn’t take no for an answer, even when his life depends on it.

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