Fargo is a dark comedy-crime film, released in 1996 and rated R for obvious reasons. It’s a brutal movie, which starts off… uneasy and descends into… not madness, but psychopathy. It’s a Coen movie, so be aware of what you are getting into before you watch this movie. It’s beautiful, but horrible: Fargo is the story of Jerry, a car salesman played by William H. Macy, who owes a lot of money and has to devise a scheme to pay it back. This scheme involves some dangerous people, and he puts everything he loves in the path of danger in his attempt. Soon things fall apart, and it is up to a pregnant cop, played by Frances McDormand, to try to sort out the wreckage.
From left to right, ice and steam
The two unsavory characters involved in the scheme, Carl Showalter (Buscemi) and Gaear Grimsrud (Stormare) are opposites. Carl is played perfectly as the fast talking, agitated funny looking little guy who is like a boiling kettle. Gaear is not a kettle, but he is a barely frozen pond, and anyone near him is unknowingly a split second away from falling into icy darkness. His face remains the same throughout, blank and not remorseless, but without even an understanding of remorse.
He speaks only poison
Jerry, the car salesman played by William H. Macy, is grotesque, cowardly and unable to rise to the circumstances he himself has created. He is slimy and has the same veneer throughout, fake and painfully cheerful. Watching this film gave me a new respect for North Dakotans, anyone who can smile through those freezing winters gets a nod from me.
I don’t know if I can recommend Fargo as a comedy. But it left me feeling as a movie should- that I have witnessed something powerful.
If you end up liking this movie, I would recommend Burn After Reading, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and No Country For Old Men. The first is a comedy, the latter two are not.