Directed by the Coen brothers

Starring William H. Macy, Frances McDormand


Opened: March 8, 1996 | Rated: R

The Coen brothers have this amazing ability to take average, nobody characters and turn them into people fascinating to watch without making them any more interesting.

This time out they've taken the real-life story of a car salesman (William H. Macy) who hires a couple of small-time hoods to kidnap his wife and split the ransom (from her wealthy father) with them to pay off his debts.

If it weren't for the insightfulness of the tweaked Coens' minds, this story would make a lousy movie. But with the subtle, homespun and ironic performances of Macy and Frances McDormand, as the pregnant sheriff investigating three murders that result when the kidnapping goes bad, the film becomes a darkly laughable tale of small town normality going awry.

It's not excitement or adventure, in fact I'd venture to say many people won't get it, mainly because the brilliance of the Coen's is in the details.

The details in "Fargo" are the slightly exaggerated Minnesota accents, the wonderfully understated dialogue, sly performances and stark cinematography that delivers equally the frost-biting sense of frigid northern winters and the pre-fabricated feeling of a cheap car dealership.

©1996 All Rights Reserved.

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