Set against the windswept tundra of Minnesota, a car salesman plans to wipe out his personal debts by hiring a pair of colorful crooks to kidnap his wife and have her wealthy father pay the ransom. The haphazard scheme turns sour during a routine pull-over that leaves three dead bodies in its wake.
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Frances McDormand's on-screen warmth is irresistible, especially when it's juxtaposed with the film's frozen footprints and cold-hearted kidnappers. With Steve Buscemi's slimy character and the shady William H. Macy, we're talking about three of my all-time favorite actors. Beyond the violence and MN/SD cliches, there's a lot of dark humor and familiar Americana for anyone who's spent time in the area.
In my opinion, the first masterpiece of the Coen brothers. The opening sequence is like the MILLER CROSSING one, a little jewel. This hymn to the natural good sense should have a reserved place in your library. Yeah ? Yeah ! As Parmenides of Elea used to say : To think is like staying in the snow without fearing the mild spell".
"Fargo" is so... cool! There's no other word for it. Using the quietness of a small city in Minnesota during winter to tell the story of a seemingly "innocent" plan gone horribly wrong is genius, all the blood dripping on the oppressing snow... and Marge Gunderson is one of the best female cops, ever. If you liked the movie then you must check the FX series: it has all the best ingredients without being a lazy copy.
Droll, dark humour ensues in Minnesota Nice. The script and most of the characters lack that spontaneous feel that great films have to them, bUt McDormand's homely cop elevates it into an occasionally glorious Americana.
"There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don't you know that?" Set aside the Minnesota quirk, and you've got a crisp, clean rural neo-western, balls to bones. It isn't morally grey by any means, but the contrast established between the repellent villains and McDormand's earnest, steadfast heroism (could she be the greatest of movie cops?) is compelling to the last. What wonderful characters.