(Review originally written at 26 April 2006)

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On the surface, "Fargo" is a very simple movie. It has a simple script and dull 'normal' characters. However due to the way the story is written en acted out by its actors, the movie becomes an absolute masterpiece and the power of the movie is in its 'normal' every day characters who are all in one way or another quite idiotic. The movie however doesn't force anything and all of the characters in the movie are portrayed as normal every day persons. Yes, all of the characters have their shortages but in a way, haven't we all? It makes the characters extremely realistic and it makes their actions all somewhat understandable, so we can easily relate to all of them.

Even though the story itself might be quite simple, it's still an enjoyable and well written one. It has some good turns and unexpected events. But it really is the subtlety of the story that makes it truly so brilliant. Nothing in the movie feels forced or over-the-top, despite the fact that the events in the movie come across as idiotic and unlikely in some cases.

It's not a comedy that really tries to be funny. It's more of a dark-comedy that through its subtle made sequences becomes really funny at times. I mean the kidnap sequence has got to be one of the most subtlety comical sequences ever made, when the kidnappers walk up on the porch, peek through the window but don't see anybody sitting while the victim, who is watching a lame TV-show, on the other hand clearly can. Or when the foot with a white sock is still sticking out of the wood chipper. Or the moment when father and son have a serious talk and afterward when the father closes the door, a poster of the accordion king is shown. It's extremely dry made and it are subtlety directed and acted sequences like these that make "Fargo" such a great piece of comedy and without doubt one of the best movies of the '90's, if not of all time. Every moment in the movie is build up extremely well and even though the movie is slow, it never becomes dull because of the great build up. The biggest joke of the movie is the fact, that despite the claim on the beginning of the movie, this movie is not based on a true story at all. I don't know why but I find this an absolutely brilliant touch from the Coen brothers.

Like I said before, all of the characters are in one way or another quite idiotic and losers and they all have their certain shortages, which makes them all very humane and easy to relate with at the same time. The characters certainly are one of the reasons why this movie is so incredibly enjoyable to watch. The accents are crazy and all of the characters are perfectly portrayed by its actors. Frances McDormand even received an Oscar for her role. The movie itself was nominated for a total of 7 Oscars, including Best Picture but it only took home 2, for McDormand and the script written by the Coen brothers. Other notable great actors in the movie are Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare as the almost amateur like kidnappers, William H. Macy as the weak person who hired them to kidnap his wife and Harve Presnell as the tough father-in-law.

The depressing and boring white background of the town of Fargo and its environment works perfect for the slow and odd story. It even makes the characters somewhat more understandable. I mean, can you just imaging a normal person living in Fargo? The cinematography by Roger Deakins and the musical score by Carter Burwell all add to this fantastic movie atmosphere of "Fargo".

Wonderful directed, build up and timed, with great performances from all its actors. One of the most original and brilliant (dark)comedies ever created. An essential must-see, despite the fact that perhaps not everyone will 'understand' and appreciate this movie its subtlety.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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