Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of pregnant Marge Gunderson.
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Margaret Pomeranz: Let's start with the Coens. It's no wonder their latest film won the Best Director Award in Cannes last week. It's a masterfully conceived and executed film. Working on the conflicting premises of naivety and violence, Fargo tells the story of a car salesman, Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy), who arranges the mock kidnapping of his wife to extort money from her rich but astute father. He hires Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare), the latter with an unfortunate tendency to act in haste and repent not at all, so things go horribly awry. Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), the pregnant Police Chief, begins to investigate the triple murder on the outskirts of her town.
"The Coens are a class act as filmmakers. 5 out of 5 for me." - Margaret Pomeranz
Fargo is set in the Coen brother's home state of Minesotta, where the Scandinavian heritage comes through strongly. The winter setting allows their hapless characters to be etched against the horizonless white landscape. Beautifully shot by Roger Deakins, with Carter Burwell collaborating brilliantly once again on the score, Fargo is revetting, funny and violent, with a warmth unusal for the Coens, emerging from the character of Marge.
Performances are tops allround. The Coens are a class act as filmmakers. Don't you think David?
David Stratton: I certainly do. This film is in a way a combination of themes form their first two films, from Blood Simple which was a tough thriller and Raising Arizona which was a very funny comedy, and here you have comedy and thrills. And as you say, there are some quite graphic and unexpected moments of violence in the film, but it is at the same time couched in such charming comedy, mainly because of the character Frances McDormand plays as the small town Police Chief, this extremely unlikely investigator on the track of a killer.
Margaret: But she's so astute and stoic, despite her morning sickness.
David: She's just wonderful.
Margaret: I think it's a wonderful film. This a 5 out of 5 for me, I think they're really good.