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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> March 1998 >> Fargo


Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
3 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
March 1998
IMDB Name:
Fargo (1996)
Joel Coen
comedy, crime
MPAA Rating:
R for strong violence, language and sexuality.

What's the big deal? I loved the acting, and the writing was acceptable, but I don't see why people love this movie so much. I enjoyed Hudsucker Proxy more than anyone else I know, but I apparently don't love everything from the Coen Brothers ( Joel Coen and Ethan Coen ).

As a character study, Fargo isn't too bad. The cast certainly does a wonderful job. The attention to detail of Frances McDormand's performance is overwhelming. She masters every aspect of the down-home persona, to the point where every movement looks natural. William H. Macy is gifted with a worried face and he uses it well here. Even the smaller characters, like Norm Gunderson ( John Carroll Lynch ) and Jean Lundegaard ( Kristin Rudrüd ), are masterfully acted, and the movie really benefits from it.

I suppose I'll even admit that I liked the plot. The kidnapping-gone- wrong is very funny with the deadpan performance of normal people. Well, at least as normal as Midwestern life can allow. The plot allows all of the characters to retain what makes them unique, and that's a good, and rare, feature of a movie. Unfortunately, I didn't finish the movie with a sense of having seen something great. Perhaps for me it will prove to be a way homer, to quote Sam McMurray in Raising Arizona. To quote Nicolas Cage in the same scene, "I'm already home."

Follow-up: I actually did experience a way-homer with this movie. The " Norm Son-of-a-Gunderson " line had an extra level of pun to it, which I didn't pick up until I was driving home from work about a week after I saw Fargo. Spooky!

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Copyright 1998-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.