Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Movie Review: Fargo

The first time viewers were introduced to the strange crime and comedy of Fargo, North Dakota comes from the Coen brothers' brilliant drama. The "true" story begins in 1987 with Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) hiring two criminals, Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife. Jerry is trying to get his father Wade Gustafson (Harve Presnell) who has a lot of money to pay for a car lot. When Wade agrees to help Jerry out, Jerry tries to stop the wheels from turning on this crime. The two criminals are shown to be very odd, debating over pancakes and having women in the bed right next to each other. This quirkiness is not only a funny aspect of many Coen brothers films but continues in the television show.

The criminals break in and kidnap Jerry's wife just as Jerry learns that Wade and his business partners will only give him a finder's fee for his new lot. Carl and Gaear are pulled over by an honest cop who refuses to take a bribe and hears the woman's crying so Gaear shoots him in the head. While Carl disposes of the cop's body, Gaear hunts down pedestrians who see the crime and try to escape. Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) gets the call to investigate the murders. Since she's pregnant, she almost barfed at the crime scene. As Marge investigates the scene, Jerry works to cover up his crime and keep the police out of it.

With a lot of accented "yeahs", Marge interrogates those who encountered Carl and Gaear. Carl is having trouble staying in the cabin without any television while Gaear continues to chain smoke. Marge's investigation leads her to Jerry's place of work since Jerry gave the criminal a car.  Marge's investigation also brings her to Shep Proudfoot (Steve Reevis) who seeks out Carl and beats him with a belt. Marge goes on an awkward date with a former friend. Carl is anxious to get his money so he calls Jerry to set up a meeting but Wade takes charge and confronts Carl in the parking deck. Carl shoots and kills Wade but not before he gets shot in the face. 

Carl takes the ransom money and buries it out in a snow drift. Marge returns to interrogate Jerry but Jerry flees the scene. Carl and Gaear argue over the car and Gaear attacks Carl with an ax. Marge follows the leads leading her to the criminal's hideout where Gaear is shredding Carl's body in a woodchipper. Marge doesn't shoot Gaear right away because, I guess, he's a white man and only injures him when she does taking him alive, lamenting all the deaths over money. Jerry is arrested in a motel room. Marge returns home to her husband Norm (John Carroll Lynch).

This movie is great, one I enjoy every time I watch it. It has a great mix of oddball comedy and crime fiction. The film has interesting themes of greed and selfishness that resonant even now years later, hence a popular show, also one of my favorites, based off of the themes and sharing the same name. Joel and Ethan Coen makes a lot of great films, yet Fargo is one of their best.   

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