Quick recap: Based on a true story (not at all), the movie opens with Jerry Lundegaard in a lot of financial trouble. His solution is what most of us would think of in times of crisis: he hires a couple of criminals to kidnap his wealthy wife so that her father will put up ransom money of which he will get a share. Sounds fool proof, right? So, in the course of the kidnapping, 3 people are murdered. Marge, a small town cop, who also happens to be pregnant, takes the case.Much heartier than what she appears to be , Marge is determined to solve the mystery and save the day.
Fun (?) Fact: I’m sure that I could scrounge up an interesting fact or two, but instead I’m going to pass on what kept flooding my mind during the movie last night-Steve Buscemi’s eyes. There’s even a Tumblr devoted to photoshopping his eyes onto other people, which I say as if it were a surprise but really, there’s a Tumblr for everything.
My thoughts: I’m just going to get straight to the point here and say that I loved this movie. I’ve seen it before, many years ago, loved it then and I love it now. The only question that remains: Is it the best Coen brothers film?
I’ve always had an affinity for Raising Arizona because it was the first Coen brothers film I ever watched. That’s not to say that it isn’t enjoyable, but it has been my favorite by default. After rewatching Fargo,I don’t know what to think anymore. In the category of capturing a group of people perfectly, Fargo wins by a landslide. I could’ve watched two hours of various actors saying random things in a Minnesota accent and been just as satisfied. Especially since William H. Macy is involved. I have no idea if he is from the area, but I don’t care because he was spot on. Also, the scenes with Marge investigating the crime were some of my favorites. On the surface, she seems like she would be a pushover and so sweet, but that’s actually her advantage when it comes to getting information out of people. Even when she knows she is being lied to, she manages to keep her cool and continues the charade of being clueless. It just seems so…..Minnesotoan.
One of the trademarks I love about the Coen brothers is their attention to detail when it comes to telling a story. It might be something as simple as when Marge and Norm are in her office eating Arby’s or at the end of the movie when Gaear is eating his tv dinner and watching a soap opera. It all adds up to paint a picture of North Dakota that, if I ever visited, would most likely be disappointed that it isn’t like the movie.
So, back to the original question of ‘is it the best Coen brothers film’? The verdict is still out, sadly. I think it edges out my (now) former favorite, but I don’t think it would be fair to compare Fargo to a movie like No Country For Old Men. The point, I think, is that when you watch a Coen brothers film, you will be transported into a different world and so there is no point in comparing.
Final review: 5/5. A must see, most definitely. I would even go so far as to say that this is the movie you should start out with if you have never watched a Coen brothers film.
Up next: the Thin Red Line or Woman in the Dunes