Fargo: An Oddly Funny Tale

Fargo: An Oddly Funny Tale

Julian Banks, Staff Writer

Fargo is a 1996 crime drama written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. The film is about a man named Jerry Lundegaard, played by William H. Macy, who hires two people to kidnap his wife so he can get himself out of debt. The Coen brothers are respected filmmakers in the industry as they have made multiple classics such as “The Big Lebowski,”  “No Country For Old Men,” and “O’ Brother Where Art Thou.” Their signature use of subtle and dark humor gives their films such a unique feel that isn’t seen in many other films.

The film’s screenplay wonderfully balances the normal with the violent. The themes of greed and crime are a stark contrast to the normal town the story takes place in. The direction, acting, and cinematography are deadpan. This accentuates the absurdity of the plot and adds a layer of comedy that has dark undertones. The director’s stationary style shows this town is as boring and normal as anyone’s town.  The acting, for the most part, is just people living their lives in an average way. The cinematography has a bleak color scheme. This makes it all the more surprising when we are presented with a tale of murder and conspiracy. 

Now, despite the use of reserved acting choices, Steve Buscemi’s character is a standout. His character is vulgar and over the top and keeps us entertained amongst all the blandness of the film. He was by far my favorite character as his comedic timing was great and added flavor to the film. The cop investigating the crimes that occur in this film is played by Frances McDormand. The relationship between her and her husband is sweet and very enjoyable to watch every time they are on screen. These characters have the deadpan style of the movie yet their relationship feels genuine. The husband represents the common man in the town. He also represents any regular person. He is completely unaware of the violence that ensues in this movie. He just loves his wife and that adds a heartwarming touch to the movie.

The use of violence in these films also adds to the contrast of the movie’s desolate setting. The violence in this movie is quite shocking when it happens. This is good because it affects the viewer more when they see it. Violence in this film seems out of place. This is important to the plot as the violence being committed was not planned. This is an excellent detail.

This movie’s commentary on greed and lies is done in a surprising and original way. It is funny, thrilling, and entertaining.