“Fargo,” Ethan and Joel Coen’s magnum opus, stands as one of the
most important and stylish films of the past decade. Combining high
drama, dark comedy and stunning visuals, the Coen Brothers crafted
a twisted and unique ode to the upper Midwest.
The Coens tell the story of car salesman-turned-criminal Jerry
Lundegaard (William H. Macy), who arranges for his wife to be
kidnapped by two small-time criminals, Carl Showalter and Gaear
Grimsrud (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare). Jerry hopes to steal a
portion of the ransom money to be paid by his father-in-law. After
Showalter and Grimsrud murder two people outside Brainerd, Minn.,
Sheriff Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) investigates, slowly
unraveling the foolish and perverse plot in the process.
The film features brilliant dialogue peppered with Minnesotan
idiosyncrasies and exceptional performances by Macy and Buscemi.
But McDormand eclipses them all as Marge, the film’s emotional
center and one of the most lovable and memorable characters in the
Seven years after “Fargo”‘s original release, a proper DVD
version is finally available. The sound and picture are flawless,
showcasing Roger Deakins’ beautiful cinematography. The snowy,
desolate landscapes capture the unmistakable, stifling atmosphere
of Midwestern winters perfectly and provide the proper backdrop for
the Coens’ unique story.
The DVD provides a number of special features, though most are
expendable. Deakins offers an insightful if occasionally dull audio
commentary track, but noticeably missing is commentary from the
Coen brothers themselves. A trivia track, which flashes tidbits of
information on the screen throughout the film, offers inane details
such as Webster’s dictionary definitions of “ransom” and
“kidnapping.” The all-new “Minnesota Nice” documentary provides an
interesting look at the making of the film with cast and crew
But as with any DVD, a great film can make up for lackluster
bonus materials; “Fargo” certainly delivers.
Film: 5 stars.
Picture/Sound: 5 stars.
Features: 3 stars.