IN THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR WITH THE COEN BROTHERS REVIEW: Finally, I review “Fargo” (1996), which stars William H. Macy (Wild Hogs, Pleasantville), Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire [TV series], Grown Ups), Peter Stormare (Bad Boys II, 22 Jump Street), Francis McDormand (Moonrise Kingdom, Promised Land), Harve Presnell (Face/Off, Dawson’s Creek [TV series]), John Carroll Lynch (Shutter Island, Gran Torino), Kristin Rudrüd (Drop Dead Gorgeous, Wheels Locked), and Tony Denman (Go, Sorority Boys). It is written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen (Bridge of Spies, The Hudsucker Proxy). Based on a true story, this movie revolves around a father and husband named Jerry Lundegaard (Macy) who hires to men to kidnap his wife in order to get money out of a ransom from her rich father. Once the plan goes underway, things get out of hand fast, resulting in the local police investigating their case, with Marge Gunderson (McDormand) as the leading investigator.
The last stop on my first director marathon is the film “Fargo.” It’s the big kahuna, the Oscar winner (or I should say Oscars), the most well-known Coen brothers movie, even if you don’t know who directed it. With that being said, I had high expectations, and guess what, they were met. What’s the pull on this? What drives this to be highly acclaimed? In my opinion, it has to be the fact that it is both real and unreal. It’s based on a true story, so these events really happened. That’s the real part. What’s unreal is how a place like Minnesota could ever have a case quite like this. I mean, have you seen the police around there? Or its citizens? They all have that smiling, “oh yeah, you betcha” attitude, but yet there is something dark going on in this place. What surprises me the most is how the person setting up the crime is just like the rest of the citizens. That’s the draw in for me. What’s makes it greater is the dialogue and characters. The characters were astounding, and the acting played a huge part in that. This is the best role I’ve seen Steve Buscemi in (granted most films I see him in belong to Adam Sandler, no offense Sandler, your movies are fun) as well as William H. Macy. Everyone did a terrific job and they all brought life to their characters. The directing was on point, especially when displaying the vastness of the area they shot in and how cold it is. The locations were eerie, yet rustic. It was chilling to watch some of this picture because of how messed up these criminals are. Murder and the covering up of it are key plot devices, and the Coen brothers didn’t pull any punches when fulfilling these devices. How the characters would crack jokes at times during these gruesome sites makes it even more dark. Like I said earlier, the dialogue is another aspect I loved. It was so rich, yet simple. I guess that goes to how interesting the concept is. From the first moment Jerry walked into that bar to meet up with his accomplices, I was hooked. It’s hard to explain how great it really is. It just has a spark. I can tell that the Coens have grown increasingly good at their writing with this, as it has gotten better throughout these movies (although I thought “Blood Simple” was better than “Raising Arizona”). There weren’t any noticeable issues I found with this release. I would say that some choices in the writing made no sense, WARNING: SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED IN THIS NEXT SENTENCE! like how Gaear (Stormare) pretty much went against the deal even though they didn’t get their money yet towards the end by killing Jean (Rudrüd) END OF SPOILER, but I really can’t pick at it if it was based on true accounts, which the beginning title card said they got it as exact as they could. My only other reasoning to the score I gave it would be that this isn’t a perfect film, which is what I usually say to movies that I don’t have many cons to. As a matter of fact, another con that comes to mind would be the sex scenes. I felt like they weren’t needed, and they all involved Steve Buscemi, so it wasn’t pretty to watch either way. Besides all of that, this was a fantastic picture, and a great achievement for the Coen brothers. It was an awesome ending to an interesting marathon. FINAL SCORE: 96%= Juicy Popcorn
This movie has been inducted into The Juicy Hall of Fame.
Here is the trailer: