We’re featuring one of the many critically-acclaimed works by the renowned Coen Brothers, “Fargo,” in this week’s installment!
The 1996 film “Fargo” was written, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It was an award-winning film said to be based on different true events, a recipient of accolades from prestigious award-giving bodies Cannes Film Festival, the Academy Awards, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. “Fargo” also has the distinction of being inducted to the United States National Film Registry back in 2006.
“Fargo” was set during the winter of 1987. Its title came from the city of Fargo in North Dakota, where timid Minneapolis, Minnesota-based car salesman Jerry Lundergaard (William H. Macy) travels to meet two criminals Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) to pull off a staged kidnapping. You see, Jerry is in deep financial trouble. His initial move was to get his wealthy father-in-law to invest in a real estate deal, but the latter wouldn’t. So Jerry thought of having his wife kidnapped and have his wealthy father-in-law pay the hefty ransom – which he would keep a huge chunk of to pay his debts, and give a small portion to Carl and Gaear. At first it seems that the scheme might just be pulled off okay, at least for Jerry; however, things go terribly wrong.
Interestingly, the movie’s protagonist comes in about 30 minutes in. Brainerd chief-of-police Marge Gunderson (Frances MacDormand) conducts an investigation on the series of homicides. Although already on the seventh month of her pregnancy, she diligently follows the trail until the very end and solves the case. For a chief-of-police, Marge is mild-mannered and kind, but at the same time is a tough woman.
“Fargo” is kind of quiet for a crime film, yet it manages to be a very good one without all the explosions and other highly elaborate set-ups sometimes find in some movies of that genre. It has its share of blood and gore, sure, but what you’ll find here mostly instead are beautiful wide shots of the snowy landscape, simple transitions, and samples of orchestra music that comes up at certain points in the movie. I think these combined with brilliant performances of the leads and a good story are what make “Fargo” a modern classic.
All stills in these article were taken from Beautiful Stills From Beautiful Films.
Like this article? Check out our articles from the Friday Movie Flashback series in the Lomography magazine!