Fargo: Film Review at Autumn Events
Cast: William H Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
Director: The Coen Brothers
1996's Fargo is one of those films that is a bona fide classic - and dazzles once again in its 4K 20th anniversary release.
The last Fargo-esque experience at the Civic was from the festival a couple of years back with the Japanese flick, Kumiko, the treasure hunter.
So it's great to bookend that experience with the original which has now spawned two TV series.
For those unfamiliar with the Coen Brothers classic, it's the story of William H Macyz's Jerry Lundegaard. A car dealer stuck within life, he plots to have his wife kidnapped to extort cash from his father-in-law to help him out of the holes he is in.
But when two hitmen get involved, things rapidly spiral out of control in the icy town of Fargo.
Still as clever as it always was, Fargo's classic sheen continues to rub off on cinema with its noir take steeped in the white icy vistas of the snow.
However, as life takes its toll and casts its shadow on the viewer, there's more of a realisation of the sadness within Fargo and the spiralling escalation of the tragedy within. It's not that there's anything less than desperation apparent in the likes of Macy's performance in any shape or form; there's an increasing frustration from Buscemi's hitman / kidnapper as everything goes south in his plan.
Both Macy and Buscemi embody the human condition in many ways in Fargo; both are trapped in situations they foolishly believe they're in control of and both are powerless to do anything except ultimately be compelled to surrender to their fate.
Frances McDormand as ever is the heart and soul of this film as Marge Gunderson, the pregnant cop trying to unravel events while dealing with a growing number of slightly kooky characters. There's still plenty of warmth emanating from her turn on the screen amid the mountains of white.
In terms of the film itself, there's nothing to beat the visuals - from the bleak harsh snowy vistas to the inevitable blood-red spray when Buscemi's funny-looking guy meets his end, this is a film that still uses its oppressive chilly snow to bring in an atmosphere that's as gripping as it is funny.
Comic interludes are more of the black variety, but channel that perception of small hick towns and their inhabitants, slyly and simultaneously mocking those within. Intelligent, classily shot and still incredibly entertaining, Fargo is a cool slice of cinematic gold and worth diving into once again.