Sunday, February 9, 2014

Retro Review: Fargo (1996)



                                 'Fargo': A Modern-Day Classic That You Won't 'Forgo'

                     So far, this is the third film that I have seen from the Coen Brothers, with the first two being No Country For Old Men and Barton Fink, but I can honestly say that this is their best film to date and their other films may not top this as this film is just perfect.

                     Story:
                  Fargo is about a down-on-his-luck car salesman named Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) who arranges for his wife to be kidnapped by two criminals named Carl Showalter and Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) in order to fix his financial difficulties. Eventually, a police officer named Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), who is seven months pregnant, begins to head onto Jerry's tail and things go from bad to worse.

                  What I Liked About It:
                 Where do I begin here? First off, I really liked the film's booming opening score. It kind of gives you an idea of what the tone of the film will be, which is very dark and ominous. Whenever I think about this film, the film's score always pops into my head and it makes me love the film more. Another thing that I liked was the film's direction and setting up in the Midwest. A lot of the film shows some of the main characters in an isolated setting surrounded by snow, which symbolizes loneliness and emptiness. But one of the few characters who doesn't appear in those scenes is Marge, who contrasts the characters she is trying to pursue because unlike them she doesn't feel lonely and is satisfied with what she has in her life. Now that I think about it, the film makes you realize how many criminals do feel empty inside and are dissatisfied with their lives, which forces them to a life of crime, and police officers seem to be more appreciative of their own lives. Also, if you've seen the film, you'll notice that there is a significant use of the color red, which represents doom and guilt. Both of those two points are evident in the film. One other thing that I really liked was the film's acting. Frances McDormand really shines as Marge, the slightly quirky cop and not only pulls of the role with slight comedic relief, but with masterful nuance and subtlety. William H. Macy also shines as Jerry, the down on his luck businessman who seems like the most unlikely criminal mastermind as he is a typical everyman and as the film progresses, he gets more nervous. But two other actors I'd like to discuss are Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare, who play the two bumbling criminals, Carl and Gaear. I loved how the two actors contrast with each other with their characters' two different personalities, with Carl being very headstrong but Gaear being much more quiet yet in my opinion much more mysterious and even deadlier.

               What I Didn't Like About It:
              Overall, Fargo is a masterful comedy crime caper that seems that it will stand the test of time. It's not only comedic but it is also very humanistic and shows how criminals can be made out of the most unlikely people. If you haven't seen this, would I highly recommend it? In the words of Marge, "Oh, Ya betcha!"

Rating: 5/5