Everything that the Coen brothers (Ethan and Joel) touch is gold. They have an impressive string of hit/critically praised films like Miller’s Crossing, Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, and No Country for Old Men. Fargo was no exception. Released in 1996, it won 2 Academy Awards and is still beloved today for its quirky depiction of smalltown Fargo, Minnesota. The film established the two brothers talent and really introduced us to actors Frances McDormand and William H. Macy.
Jerry Lundergaard (William H. Macy – The Cooler, Wild Hogs) is desperate for money. He comes up with an idiotic and risky scheme to have his wife (Kristin Rudrud – Pleasantville) kidnapped and held for ransom. Her father, Wade (Harve Presnell – Evan Almighty, Flags of Our Fathers), is a rich man and therefore Jerry believes he can solve his money problems by setting up this fake kidnapping.
Based on a recommendation given to him by a mechanic (Steve Reevis – The Longest Yard – 2005, The Doors) at the car dealership he works at, Jerry hires Carl (Steve Buscemi – Con Air, Pulp Fiction) and Gaear (Peter Stormare – Chocolat, Nacho Libre) to kidnap Jean, but things go wrong and people end up dead. Very pregnant Police Chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand – Burn After Reading, Friends With Money) is called in to investigate the case. It is no longer a simple fake kidnapping for dough.
With their amazing talent for writing screenplays and directing the Coen brothers were able to make a film that involves brutal murders, kidnapping and a mystery that ends up being quite humourous. The film definitely doesn’t worry about being politically correct or the like. Anything goes and it is not above poking fun at the residents of this area. Speaking of Minnesota, the brothers used the cold, snowy winter weather of Minnesota to their advantage in the film; so much so that it is almost another character. Another strong element of the film is the scoring. The music, even in the murder scenes, lends a lot to the atmosphere the Coen brothers have created.
Besides the great story and direction, the entire cast is great to watch. From leads Macy and McDormand to supporting actors Stormare and Buscemi, everyone does anything to make the story work. There are no primadonnas in this cast. They look dumpy and speak with those ridiculous accents. It is like watching a bunch of clowns involved in horrible murders.
-Article from American Cinematographer