Posted on 1/11/11 09:16 PM
I'm gonna come right out and say it. I did not like Fargo. A lot of people love it, and it was even nominated for best picture several years ago. I haven't met another person who didn't like it. But I did not see anything that would make this film as good as everyone says it is.
For those of you who haven't seen Fargo, it's about a car dealer who is in a pretty massive amount of debt. He would like to ask his rich father-in-law for the money he needs, but he knows he won't give it to him. So he hatches a scheme. He hires two common criminals to kidnap his wife and hold her ransom. His father-in-law will pay the ransom, he gets the money, and they all go home happy. Simple, right? Well, a couple murders later and one pregnant cop on their trail and suddenly things aren't so simple anymore.
To me, the Coen brothers' films are either hit or miss. For me, this was simply a miss. I respect their talent, I think that they are fantastic directors. Fargo is no exception; they do a very good job with the cinematography and directing of this film. I admire them for that, and that's something that they always nail.
The performances are also very good, even great in the case of Steve Buscemi and Frances McDormand. I just love Buscemi in anything he's in and McDormand was fantastic in this. She nails that accent that other actors may not. She embodies kind of the anti-movie cop that we are so used to seeing in these thrillers, and that's clever. The rest of the cast is good as well.
But my problems arise when we get around to the story. I didn't know what to think of this film. I've heard it described as a black comedy, but I really didn't find anything funny or even remotely chuckle-worthy in Fargo. Most of the humor to me seemed to arise from the accents of the natives and, in one instance that stood out in my mind, a stupid grin on someone's face. Maybe it just flew over my head, but I didn't get it.
This would be okay if the thriller/crime caper made up for that. But ultimately, it didn't. I could never take this aspect seriously whatsoever, and as a result, I ended up not caring. And when I didn't care about the story, I found myself not caring about the characters either. I was just apathetic the entire movie, and I didn't like that.
So in my mind, Fargo failed to live up to my expectations. The direction and performances are great, which is typical of a Coen brothers film, but once again I just didn't get the point of the movie's humor. The story ultimately felt too silly to be taken seriously as an engaging thriller, but too serious to work as a comedy. Because of it, I didn't care about the story or the characters. Man, even the damn wood chipper scene failed to thrill me(which is the opposite of what should happen when you put someone through a wood chipper). After hearing so much love for this film, all I could feel was a sense of apathy and disappointment. Maybe I just don't have a heart. So shoot me. But I did not enjoy my first visit to Fargo.