Fargo

1996, Movie, R, 98 mins

Review

FARGO
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In the icy heart of snow-blanketed Minnesota, a dumb-as-dirt car salesman (William H. Macy) hatches a plan to wipe out his personal debts. He'll hire 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 tightwad. Naturally, things go horribly wrong. With the exception of the brooding MILLER'S CROSSING, this may be the warmest movie the Coen brothers have ever made. There's something unmistakably human beneath the oh-so-clever surface, and Frances McDormand's hugely pregnant local cop Marge Gunderson -- who waddles implacably from bloody crime scene to even bloodier crime scene -- radiates solid decency instead of the synthetic perkiness that too often passes for character. Granted, just about everyone here is a borderline moron with an annoying accent, but this isn't a case of big-city contempt for small-town mores: Born and raised in Minnesota, the Coens know their targets well and generally hit them squarely. On a trivial note, Bruce Campbell, who made unbilled cameo appearances in the Coens' INTOLERABLE CRUELTY (2003) and THE LADYKILLERS (2004) as actors glimpsed on TV screens, is seen here in a brief clip from the short-lived soap opera Generations. leave a comment

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