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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fargo (1996)

Fargo was a very interesting movie to watch, a movie that conveys the darker side of humanity. Released in 1996, the movie was directed and produced by the Coen Brothers. The movie stars Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, and Harve Presnell in significant roles. Given the plot where a husband is willing to get his wife kidnapped for money, the movie showcases how such situations can quickly go out of control and lead to consequences that are harmful for all involved. Very quickly, you reach a situation where people are willing to murder for money (something that is weirdly seen as a normal happening), willing to murder because somebody annoys you; such situations give a chance to let the psychopaths live upto their dreams.
Why call a movie Fargo ? Well, there is an actual city called Fargo in North Dakota, and it appears in the movie for a very short time. But in reality as the Coen Brothers, admitted, Fargo as a name for a movie looks interesting (and the play on words of 'Far' 'Go' seem apt to a story where money plays a setting role in what people do).

Fargo (1996)

The movie was well received by critics, and went onto win 2 Oscars (Best original screenplay and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Frances McDormand). The movie also did well at other Film Festivals such as BAFTA, Cannes. The movie also got nominations for 5 other Oscars:
# Academy Award for Best Picture
# Academy Award for Directing (Joel Coen)
# Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (William H. Macy)
# Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Roger Deakins)
# Academy Award for Film Editing (Ethan Coen & Joel Coen)
The movie went further to increase the reputation of the Coen Brothers (whose other films include O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Raising Arizona, The Hudsucker Proxy, Miller's Crossing, Blood Simple, The Man Who Wasn't There, No Country For Old Men, The Big Lebowski, and Barton Fink). One interesting tidbit is that the lead female role in Fargo, Frances McDormand is married to Joel Coen since 1984.
Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) is a salesman in an Oldsmobile dealership, with the dealership being owned by his father-in-law Wade. Wade is rich, but Jerry does not get to see the money, and is financial difficulties. The solution ? He contacts an ex-convict named Shep Proudfoot, and through him, Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare) and Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi). In a bar in the city of Fargo, they concot a plan to kidnap Jerry's wife Jean for a total amount of $ 1 million that he will get from Wade. In the meantime, Jerry almost comes to an agreement with his father-in-law for financing for a business plan (and Jerry attempts to call off the kidnapping but fails). However, the business plan soon falls through with Wade deciding to do the financing independently, and not through Jerry.
The kidnapping proceeds, and Wade is duly informed by Jerry about this. However, by that night, the kidnapping is in serious trouble, with a license plate problem causing the intervention of a policeman. The kidnappers kill the trooper, and then kill 2 witnesses to the scene (in the neighboring state of Minnesota). These murders bring in the local police chief, 7 month pregnant Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand). She gives a look of being simple, but is very competent and versed in police procedures. She is soon on the trail, first finding the link to Shep Proudfoot, and then deciding to travel to Minneapolis to investigate further.
In the meantime, the case takes a more deadly turn with Shep going after Carl and humiliating him. And in the taking of money for ransom, Carl has a shootout with Wade who has come to deliver the money himself. Wade dies, and Carl is wounded. While returning to his place back, Carl hides most of the money; however, when he returns to his cabin, he finds that his partner has murdered the hostage Jean. They have a dispute, and Carl is killed with an axe. By this time, Marge is very close to resolving the case, and is finally able to nail Jerry, and then arrest Grimsrud.

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