Fargo - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fargo Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 14, 2011
Marge Gunderson: There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it.

"a homespun murder story":

Fargo is one of the Coen Brothers best films. I believe I've seen this like four times now and every time I do, it leaves a bigger expression on me. Are there any better filmmakers in the world then the Coen's? This film makes me want to be able to construct a story like this. Their talent is just awe inspiring. Even the things that don't make sense the first time around, like the character Mike who advances the plot nowhere. He's there for a reason though, as is everything and when all the pieces(and there are a shit load of them) come together... chills.

The film starts on a man driving in the snow with another car attached. He arrives in Fargo, North Dakota, where he is meeting two men. The man is Jerry Lundegaard and from the first moment on screen, you know exactly who he is. He has no backbone and is cowardly, but what he's seeing the two men about doesn't fit those character descriptions. He's in a big financial and soon to be legal problem, so he hires two men to kidnap his wife and extort a ransom from her rich father. Everything goes wrong for everyone and a bright, but slightly na´ve North Dakota police woman is right behind them the whole way.

I can't think of any aspect of the film that isn't excellent. None of it is just passable, or okay, or good. It's damn near perfect. The performances. William H. Macy is at his best as the man that can't do anything right. Frances McDormand is beyond words and very deserving of that Oscar. Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare are hilarious. The first scene where Stormare is just sitting there, imposing his silent stare on Macy; hilarious. The writing. You can't say enough about how well this story is written. From go, the Coen's are making jokes, saying it's based on true events. The direction goes hand in foot with the writing. Joel and Ethan are on top of everything. The cinematography is beautiful with the pure white snow, and that music is so damn atmospheric and haunting.

The movie is hard to put into words, but obviously it's worthy of a viewing. In fact, it should be necessary. This is filmmaking at its best.
Super Reviewer
½ November 10, 2007
Funny, suspenseful, and brilliantly plotted. I loved how the film was constructed, the funny accents, the would-be thugs, the somewhat dim-witted townsfolk, the strong Marge, and the nervous Jerry. Every character is excellently portrayed and the story told is strong and well conceived. A must-see.
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2006
This darkly comedic crime thriller from Joel and Ethan Coen is a real doozy, don'tcha know?

Set around Minnesota and North Dakota in the winter of 1987, this film both embraces and satirizes the Minnesota upbringing of its writers/producers/directors.

William H. Macy is Jerry Lundegaard- a sad sack ineffectual car salesman who is hard up for money. His wife and her dad (Jerry's boss) are both well off, but, even if they knew he needed the money, they probably wouldn't give it to him anyway, His solution is to enlist a criminal version of the odd couple (chatter box Steve Buscemi, and silent psycho Peter Stormare) to kidnap Jerry's wife, then use the ransom as payment for both them and himself.

Things get complex, and especially messy when the plan doesn't go as designed, and blood becomes shed. To make things even more interesting, small town sheriff Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) gets thrown into the mix, and her down to Earth, smart approach really adds layers of warmth and heart, made even more poignant by the fact that she's also 7 months pregnant.

There's already been so much written about this, that I really don't have anything new to contribute. It holds up to its reputation, and is a real masterpiece of writing, direction, and acting. I can't really describe it: everything just clicks, and there's a nice balance to the laughs and bloodshed. The characters and themes are interesting and thought provoking, and come on, Marge Gunderson is undeniably one of the coolest and greatest characters ever created. I'm so happy this film nabbed the Bros. Coen a writing Oscar, as well as one for McDormand's superb acting. It's a shame.

Like all Coen Brothers films, the cinematography and music are brilliant, and, while complex, the film is really fairly easy to follow. It's a shame this lost Best Picture to The English Patient, because this was the film that deserved it more.

Bottom line: this is a must see, and its place on all the various types of best of lists is absolutely justified. Truly a great American classic.
Super Reviewer
½ November 29, 2012
Very well written film full of twists and bleak events that strangely force you to look at your own life and situations in a new and enlightening way. Boasting a fantastic cast, it's impossible not to get involved in this believable and realistic film. The only problem maybe it that it's a bit too realistic, containing several slow and boring parts.
Super Reviewer
September 25, 2010
Slow moving, yet well-paced and holding an interesting premise, "Fargo" is not particularly one of my favourite Coen Brothers movies, but it presents a the murderous true story so well. The acting is very quirky and funny, while still being dark and serious, which is a tone that is very off-beat and enjoyable. I loved watching this film, and there are many classic film elements present, but I wish it could have gone a little further in terms of it's style. It felt like it had a brilliant atmosphere that was not explored quite enough. All-in-all, "Fargo" is great!
Super Reviewer
August 25, 2012
It's not as enjoyable as one would hope. In the end it's a drab film featuring an appealing turn from McDormand yet a plot that delivers little to the audience nor that is really that well crafted.
Super Reviewer
½ July 22, 2012
The Coen's combination of humor and violence have never been executed so well. McDormand is especially great.
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2012
This is a film with a really interesting story, and good performances by Macy, Buscemi and McDormand. This isn't the Coen brothers best work, but it is a solid movie nonetheless. The Coen brothers, however, seem to have trouble ending their movies, and this one is no exception.
Super Reviewer
April 5, 2011
Fargo is absolutely incredible. Every scene is captured with so many layers and layers of emotion and wit. A must watch.
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2006
The most absurd and crazy stories are still written by life itself. This is based on a real crime happening in Minnesota in the 1980s. Of course the Coen brothers find the right tone to tell this tale of greed, stupidity and violence. Sometimes you're not sure whether you're supposed to laugh or shake your head and end up doing both. The cast is excellent, especially William H. Macy as a man who is in way over his head and Frances McDormand as pregnant police woman, who's a lot smarter than she seems and gives the not very flattering portrayal of the local people a lovable face. As things get more and more dire, she is the beacon of common sense and humanity in midst of a circle of crime that goes further and further down the spiral. McDorman deserved her Oscar for that, just like the brilliant, funny, realistic and gloomy script. Probably the best Coens film of the 90s.
Super Reviewer
½ September 2, 2007
A pregnant cop investigates a series of murders when a kidnapping goes horribly wrong. Violent dark comedy. Good cast. Despite the opening intro, this is not a true story.
Super Reviewer
½ September 24, 2011
Crazy, but my lord is it entertaining. One of the best film's of the 90's.
Super Reviewer
½ August 24, 2011
Again the Coen Bros do what they do best and deliver a deliciously dark black comedy. Frances McDormand has to be one of my favourite actress' and does not fail to deliver in Fargo, which is one of my faves from the Bros.
Super Reviewer
July 3, 2011
The way Fargo's plot unravels is executed masterfully by the Coen brothers. Terrific dialogue, characters and performances feature in this fantastic crime dramaedy of sorts.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
This cult classic is an hilarious black comedy full of action, suspense, and drama. I loved it, and I highly recommend it.
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2010
Sometimes, a lot of the time actually, I seem to forget how good of a movie Fargo truly is. I think a lot of movies that are deemed "Cult Classics" tend to warrant high expectations. When I first saw Fargo, I didn't really know what it was that made people so nuts over it. I think a lot of what makes Fargo great is when you aren't expecting something from it. It works a lot better as just a movie, not one with a ton of baggage. Much like The Usual Suspects, it was one of the most over-exposed movies of the 90s. Both movies have suffered over the years for being just too popular for their own good and for the wrong reasons a lot of the time. Now, I think enough time has passed that everyone can sit down and watch Fargo how it was meant to be seen.
Fargo essentially meshes crime, comedy, and drama all into one and makes a really unique effect with it. Most of the performances here are what makes it a comedy, the plot makes it indefinitely crime and the music sets a bizarre dramatic feeling that you don't see coming. William H. Macy, Frances McDormand and the rest of the Minnesota based characters are all over-played caricatures, earning them really funny moments where there might not otherwise be any. Those accents are completely ridiculous, but somehow it just fits into the whole nutball series of events. The plot is really interesting in that the movie zigzags around it rather than the other way around. Instead of introducing us to all the principle characters first, it takes us almost forty minutes to get around to our principle character. I think that takes away any sort of predictability away from the story; what happens, happens. The Coen Brothers definitely take a very interesting approach to the music in this, it just really has an amazing effect on setting the mood and bring emotional weight to what is happening.
Now this, like all of the Coen Brother's movies, is extremely well shot and put together flawlessly. They are extremely talented writers/directors that seem to just get movies in a way that not many others do. You can tell they know film history like the backs of their hands and have the up most respect for the process. You can see how much time and effort is put into each of their movies and this is one of the prime examples of it. Everything you feel is meant to be felt and that is a kind of control that is hard to achieve.
Super Reviewer
June 1, 2011
The Coen Brothers' comedies (and this is very much one of their comedies) always seem a bit insignificant in comparison to their dramas (like "No Country for Old Men" and "A Serious Man"). This is because they are concerned with the stupidity of people and there is only so much one can do with that topic. "Burn After Reading" and "Intolerable Cruelty" are so fluffy that they could essentially evaporate in front of you. What saves "Fargo" from this fate is that it plays around, quite nicely, with expectation in truth and lie. That pesky "based on a true story' title card certainly mixes things up. "Fargo" also works as well as it does because of Frances McDormand, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi's performances. They always remain real, pointed and hilarious. "Fargo" is a neat little movie that is full of wit and some interesting existential dilemmas.
Super Reviewer
August 1, 2009
absofreakinglutely genius. fargo is one of my favourite films. with an explosive combination of action, comedy, gore, sex and suspense, joel and ethan coen have made a masterful film.
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