Fargo (1996)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Yah, you betcha!

Man, why do we have to have weaknesses when it comes to film? I like elements in almost every movie, because the foundation is usually something I can really appreciate. However, my personal kryptonite when reviewing films falls under the category of Dark Comedy. There are a precious few in which I have liked, but for the most part, these films never click with me. I mostly don’t get it because it feels so unnatural. I almost never find them funny and then I feel awkward for not laughing because the scene seems to be trying to make me laugh. Fargo is a movie that has quite a bit of recognition, in the 90 percentile on Rotten Tomatoes, I thought I’d found the perfect dark comedy. Heck, it even takes place in Minnesota, a place I’ve lived in the past. It was perfect…or not.

The movie itself is about car dealership owner Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) as he attempts to steal money from his father-in-law by kidnapping his own wife. Basically, he gets these two idiot crooks to kidnap her while he persuades his wife’s father to pay the ransom. Easy-going plan until the idiot crooks kill a few witnesses that see the crime. Suddenly, their all caught up in a downward-spiraling snowball that never seems to end. Basically the moral of the story is not to kidnap your own wife.

As I’ve already made clear, dark comedies don’t impress me. Heck, I wouldn’t even call this thing a comedy as much as I would a tragedy…but I guess that’s the point, isn’t it? For the most part, what I got out of this film was the apparent need to throw in as much Minnesota stereotypes as humanly possible. “Yah, sure, you betcha!” is something you hear a lot in this film. The only stereotype I didn’t run into hearing was “tapioca”. That being said, I think that was their main tool in making light of a serious situation. I get it, funny accent is hard to take seriously, but I lived there, remember? I’m half used to it and can say not everyone speaks like that. But for the sake of the review, let’s just say they do. After living there for a while, the funniness of the accent wears down. You get used to it. Therefore – they weren’t able to get me on accent alone.

Next stereotype – all Minnesotans are nice. Basically, they take light of any given situation. “Oh boy, we got a triple homicide-type deal here, huh? People aren’t robots, we all react to the shock of death differently. None of the deaths in the film rattled anyone’s bones and I found that almost obscene. I know, I am missing the entire point of the film. No argument from me. I know what the point was, but the point doesn’t mean anything if you don’t connect with the film the way you’re supposed to. So in the end, it felt really, really pointless.

What I will say is that it is done well. The story is pretty original, its writing is constructed well-enough, and some of the acting pops out above the rest, but I wasn’t impressed with the movie. Not by a long shot.

The Good:

As I mentioned, Fargo is constructed well on a production-level. The acting is pretty good, the writing is pieced together pretty seamlessly, the story is original – and it’s just different enough for someone to want to watch it.

The Bad:

If you’re like me, and you have a lot of trouble connecting with dark comedies, the movie isn’t for you. You just won’t get the point of it.

Memorable Quote:

Everyone: Yah, you betcha!


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