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fargo Fargo
Starring William H. Macy, Frances McDormand,
Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare
Written by Joel and Ethan Coen
Directed by Joel Coen

In his best North Country accent, Cranky writes:

Yah. So. There's this car salesman? Up in Minnesota and he owes a lotta money. So. He owes a lot of money, ya know, so he hires two guys to kidnap his wife. So, like, they can split the ransom money from her rich father, who really doesn't like him, okay ? Yah. But then he thinks he doesn't need to do this but it's like, too late and Oh Geez people start getting killed . . .

Sorry, my accent bites. It occurred to me, the day after I saw Fargo, that I may have been laughing AT the characters in Fargo because of the accents, instead of (strictly) their reactions to the gruesome situations that unfold in the movie. But I know the Coen brothers' work well -- enough to know that that probably wasn't the case. Indeed, the Coens are from Minnesota, so there's nothing stereotypical here that isn't absolutely natural to them.

Including a Japanese character with an accent just as thick as any Aryan in the cast.

I don't care who writes the review. There is no way you can characterize the work of Joel and Ethan Coen. If you liked their previous work, The Hudsucker Proxy, Barton Fink, Miller's Crossing, or Raising Arizona, you'll love Fargo. If you don't, you won't. Pretty simple, eh?

William H. Macy plays Jerry Lundegaard, a "dumb as rocks" car salesman with a squeaky-voiced wife, an accordion playing child, and a mountain of debt. His tight-fisted father-in-law (Harve Presnell) owns the dealership and is rolling in the greenbacks -- and dislikes Jerry intensely. Jerry hires two dimwits -- a "weird looking one" (Steve Buscemi) and a "not-so-weird looking one" (Peter Stormare) -- to do the deed for a 50/50 split. Weird guy likes hookers. Not so weird guy, who almost never talks, likes guns and axes and extreme acts of violence.

And a simple kidnapping turns into one not-so-simple murder. And then two. And three. And so on and so on and so on. The thing is, it really happened, and the Coens make pains to point out that the events have not been changed from the actual ones.

Which doesn't excuse them from creating some very funny, very dry dialogue from some unusual characters. Including a police chief who, after examining one of the murder sites, begins to feel sick. No, it's not the gore spread all over the virgin white snow, it's something else. And I'm not going to give it away. It is one of the reasons to see Frances McDormand's bravura performance as Marge Gundersson. For every character in this North Country, every day is the same. EVERY DAY, even the days when the bodies are dropping like . . . Geez, like bodies dropping . . .and the major decision of the day is whether to eat at Roy Rogers or Arby's.

For all the violence and gore, and there is enough of it to go around, you may find yourself laughing at the most inopportune of times. You won't believe that what you see will make you laugh, but it will.

Unless you live in the North Country, in which case you may find Fargo to be a gripping crime story. Let me know.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price for Fargo, he would have paid . . .


Fargo was great

Click to buy films by Joel Coen
Click to buy films starring Frances McDormand
Click to buy films starring William H. Macy
Click to buy films starring Steve Buscemi

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