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#84 - Fargo

1996 brought Joel and Ethan Coen's masterwork, a crime drama/dark comedy set in Minnesota. Frances MacDormand plays Marge Gunderson, a pregnant police chief from Brainerd, hot on the trail of a murder case that leads her to car salesman and Wayzata resident Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) who has done some underhanded things in his attempts to make some quick money. Naturally things spiral out of control and naturally Marge hunts it all down in between trips to the buffet.

Now, being from Minnesota myself, first of all -- yes, some people do really talk like that. Not everyone, but some -- especially the farther north you go. The Coen brothers are Minnesota natives too and they're poking fun at their home state throughout the film. The same goes for the almost debilitating laid back attitude of many of the characters in the film. Yes, Minnesotans can be laid back, but I know just as many high strung ones too.

So although the accent and the personalities are exaggerated, there is a grain of truth in every exaggeration. I was of course grinning throughout the film. The wonderful "Oh yeah?" "Yeah..." "No kidding." "Yeah." "Oh yeah?" dialogue is just so priceless. But probably not to anyone who hasn't spent some time "up north." But don't worry, the rest of the script is really well written too.

The entire film is very well done. The bro's walk the fine line between getting too serious and trivializing the events occurring. They really seem to know how a bunch of Minnesotans would react to what's going on. MacDormand pulls off the character like she was born there. The supporting cast are all spot on -- either blending in or sticking out like sore thumbs, depending. The cinematography is very fitting for the bleak landscape and storyline. You will find yourself alternatively laughing and cringing at how the characters behave.

I think I agree that while it may not be the most entertaining Coen brothers film, it is the best. Strangely, I think it has the most heart of any of them. Like many of the films on this list, it was at times painful to watch. But unlike some of the films we've seen so far, it was completely worth it.

(See this post if you're confused why I'm reviewing movies.)

Comments (1)


Yeah as far as dancing goes, if it's not choreographed, I get freaked out. I always wonder "is this the part where my arms should be up?". It's weird. Good luck with the Cali job(s). Sorry about not commenting on the actual post.


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