Film Review : FARGO * * * *
CAST Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Harve Presnell, Peter Stormare
DIRECTOR Joel Coen
Fargo is film noir at its finest. A magnificent thriller about a kidnapping gone a muck. This film unfolds like new bed sheets only to find that there is a nasty stain you werent expecting. Not to say the story is stained, far from it.
William H. Macy plays Jerry Lundegaard, executive sales manager for a Minnesota car dealership in 1987. He finds himself in deep debt struggling to get out before he gets into trouble. He devises a plan to have his wife kidnapped by a couple of hired thugs(played by Buscemi and Stormare)in order to get her rich father to pay a million dollar ransom so he can pay off his debts. The nature of the debts arent made clear to us, but you get the sense he could get in real trouble if he doesnt take care of it. The two kidnappers get stopped by a cop and end up killing him and two by standers, which begins a cycle of events gone wrong.
Marge Gunderson (McDormand in a brilliant performance), a Brainerd police chief, is assigned the case and follows a trail of small but crucial clues which makes the situation begin to unravel. McDormand is sharp, funny and competent as Gunderson, a very pregnant cop who breaks the case. It marks a breakthrough for women in cinema. Taking on such a major role in such a major film. Macy is perfect as Jerry, the nervous salesman who is constantly worrying. He twitches and stutters with life like accuracy. He is so belivable you think he actually is involved.
Ethan and Joel Coen are not strangers to making movies like this. In 1985 they made the great film "Blood Simple". This is even better. Supposedly based on a true story, Fargo plays like a nightmare for anyone who could have been involved in this. All the marks are hit and the direction is so subtle, its hard to tell how brilliant it is. The screenplay is a masterwork. The right dialogue is spoken in every scene and there is little hesitation in between character lines. Alot of movies use that method to play on suspense bulid up. This film doesnt need that. It lets the actions of the characters and the consequences of their actions do that for us. This is one of the best films of the 90's and one of the greatest of all time.