Home > Movie, Review > Movie Review: Fargo (1996)

Movie Review: Fargo (1996)

Woman next to a dead body in a snowy field.Summary:
A car dealer is in deep debt, and his wealthy father-in-law refuses to help him out.  Since his father-in-law’s one caveat regarding money is that he will never leave his daughter or grandson in trouble, the car dealer decides to get some men to kidnap his wife, and they will then split the ransom.  The plan, naturally, goes horribly awry.

Review:
I think this may be one of the more stupid critically acclaimed movies I’ve ever seen.

Let’s start with the plot.  Why is this man in massive debt?  Neither myself nor the person I was watching the movie with could quite figure that out.  It’s key to me as far as relating to the character to know how exactly he got into this debt to start with.  Similarly, why doesn’t the father-in-law consider getting his son-in-law out of debt taking care of the family?  It appears that the car dealer is in trouble, and you would think that the father-in-law would want to keep the man his daughter loves safe if for no other reason than to protect her heart.  Then there’s the fact that this is quite possibly the most predictable plot I’ve ever seen.  One of the kidnappers is crazy? Who’da thunk it?! *rolls eyes*

Moving on to the acting, it was terrible.  I’ve seen more facial expression and body language from stone statues than I saw on William H. Macy, who plays the car dealer.  The only way I can possibly comprehend Frances McDormand winning an Oscar for her performance is if she naturally has a bubbly, interesting personality, because it can’t be that challenging to play a character as boring as the pregnant police chief.  Then there’s the universally horrible midwest accents.  I’m friends with a woman who was born and raised in Michigan, and she does not sound like that.  She has a slight lilt to her o’s and a’s that is actually cute and attractive, not horribly mangled words such as what these actors purport midwesterners sound like.

It wasn’t until I looked up Fargo to find a movie poster that I discovered it’s supposed to be a “dark comedy.”  Oh, I laughed at parts of it alright, but not due to any comedic value.  You just have to laugh at a movie that’s this bad.

I don’t recommend anyone to see this movie, but it’s not excruciatingly painful to watch if you find yourself stuck in a room with it, which is the only thing saving it from a one star rating.

2 out of 5 stars

Source: Netflix

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  1. jpetroroy
    February 19, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I don’t really get the Coen Brothers’ sense of humor at times. Burn After Reading was one of the oddest (in a bad way) movies that I have ever seen.

    • February 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

      I saw so much potential in Burn After Reading, but they totally face-planted it with the writing and direction at the end. *shakes head*

  2. February 19, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I really enjoyed the movie and thought it was a lot funnier than you did. Wood chipper! LOL!

    I know people just like that father-in-law character and I was rooting for him to get rubbed out when he had to get all macho on personally delivering the scrilla. The Coen bros did not disappoint there. Satisfying! 🙂

    Interesting that I never wondered why the car dealer guy was in debt. It simply never crossed my mind. Couldn’t have been anything too exotic, though. Apparently he’s just a boring guy and a bad businessman, unless he had some secret vices we never knew about. Maybe a deleted scene provided more info.

    I have no idea if the accents were authentic or not, but I liked them. I thought the interplay between the police chief and her hubby was compelling.

    IMDB gives it 8.3/10 which is pretty darn good, eh? That places it at #118 on the all-time list. I obviously enjoyed it a lot more than you but I still enjoyed your review.

    • February 22, 2010 at 8:52 am

      If I gave any value to what the sheeple of the nation think, then the reference to the imdb rating would mean something. However, I do not. Thankfully for all of us, I don’t form my opinions based on what is popular. That’d make for a very boring blog. 😉

  3. February 19, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    In Fargo’s defensive: they aren’t doing generalized Midwest accents, they are doing extremely specific Northern Minnesota accents. I’ve never visited up there, so I can’t speak to the accuracy, but I *have* heard people from Michigan’s UP (Upper Peninsula) and they sound just as weird as the characters in Fargo.

    I’m a big Coen brothers fan, but I have to say that this movie never grabbed me the way The Hudsucker Proxy, The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona, or No Country for Old Men did. Oddly enough, I’ve always been a bit lukewarm on O Brother, Where Art Thou? as well, which is probably their second most popular movie.

    • February 22, 2010 at 8:55 am

      Hm, it would seem from the general consensus that the Coen brothers have no defined style. Their movies are all over the place. Maybe that’s good for them? Who knows. I do wish they’d make another movie I liked as much as O Brother though, in spite of the fact that you don’t like it. 😉

  4. February 20, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Well I’ve never seen Fargo nor has my Dad who is the oracle I go to for advice concerning all things film haha, he hasn’t seen it either. Although having reeled off Margaret’s list of Coen brother’s films he loves them all so he’ll probably like Fargo. I myself have only seen No Country for Old Men which was good but I did LOVE O Brother, Where Art Thou! I think it can very much be you either love or hate the Coen Brothers. I think I might still give Fargo a go just to see.

    • February 22, 2010 at 8:55 am

      It seems to me that the Coen brothers are very hit or miss, and just because you like one of their films doesn’t mean you’ll like all of them.

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