Can something be so rich and brilliant in its simplicity, that you can almost forget about it all together? Oh, you betcha! With a fresh 4K remastering, "Fargo" is that unforgettable homespun murder story that made us laugh and cringe all at the same time all those 18 years ago.
Things go horribly awry when small time and unsuccessful car salesman (William H Macy) plans to wipe out his personal debts by hiring a pair of small-time, out-of-town crooks (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife, then collect the ransom from her dad (Harve Presnell), a wealthy businessman. It seems like a simple enough plan, that is until people start dying and local sheriff Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) is on the case.
It really is all about the execution, in "Fargo" the Coen brothers take us to the middle of nowhere mid west and give us an engrossing, hilarious and chilling crime drama that works so exceptionally well because it just feels so damn genuine.
Shot in the bleak, tundra of the American Mid-West never has so much pristine pure white snow looked so imposing. The Coen's who took this true story that they totally made up to places that you couldn't imagine. This setting and culture that is so nice and polite it makes you question your own sanity has an underbelly all of its own and we are masterfully guided through it. Their stellar direction and use of the country side really craft a foreboding mood that makes a desolate stretch of highway or an abandoned parking garage abnormally chilling as everything that surrounds what was supposed to be a simple crime, goes horribly, horribly wrong. In concert with all this is the often hilarious and even lyrical nature of the dialogue that is running side by side with these gruesome crimes and it all makes for one of the more unique cinematic experiences in recent history as we are laughing one second, then dead serious the next as the underbelly of this seemingly pleasant piece of country comes clearer and clearer.
This horrific comedy of errors is anchored by the always magnificent Frances McDormand in what was an Academy Award winning performance as Sheriff Marge Gunderson. As she waddles around at 7 months pregnant she brings an unbelievable charm to the role that perfectly counter balances the violent crimes that have entered her jurisdiction. She was serious, she was funny and it takes a rare talent who can generate a genuine belly laugh one minute, and then be totally believable in the grimiest of moments only a few minutes later.
William H Macy truly landed on the pop culture radar as the forever flummoxed Jerry Lundegaard who will go down as one of the worst criminals in cinematic history. We both despised him and felt sympathy for him throughout, Macy walked that line with ease in what is a career making performance. Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare were fabulous as our bumbling and psychotic crooks driven to the brink in middle of nowhere Minnesota.
A winner of two Academy Awards, "Fargo" really was a launching pad to bigger and better things for everyone involved and even now 18 years later it stands as an iconic piece of filmmaking.
5 out of 5 stars.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray have quite honestly never been better and the special features on this disc include a feature length commentary track with Director of Photography Roger A Deakins, a trivia track, a photo gallery, the Minnesota Nice behind the scenes featurette and an article from the American Cinematographer about the film.