Lawful Good vs. Chaotic Evil in FARGO | TIFF 2018
- Published on Oct 12, 2018
- The author of It Doesn't Suck: Showgirls and the forthcoming The Coen Brothers: This Book Really Ties the Films Together discusses Joel and Ethan Coen's Oscar-winning modern classic, Fargo.
After the studio-abetted excess and use-your-allusion flamboyance of The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo represented a return to (blood) simplicity for Joel and Ethan Coen. The film was also a literal homecoming, drawing on the brothers' memories of their native Minnesota to conjure up a whited-out wasteland as visually striking as the desertscapes of Lawrence of Arabia (whose most famous image is satirized in the opening shot). Carter Burwell's plaintive, folk-inflected score immediately frames Fargo as an off-kilter fairy tale, with Frances McDormand's indelible, heavily pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson as its white knight, wandering bravely through a thicket of male wickedness: William H. Macy's white-collar embezzler, Harve Presnell's cheapskate patriarch, and Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare's flannel-clad mercenaries. The endlessly quotable original script ("I need unguent") and McDormand's performance as the wonderfully humane life force that is Marge both won Academy Awards, earning the Coens the industry traction they'd previously lacked. While Fargo is undeniably a classic on its own terms, its legacy may be the commercial and creative leeway it afforded its makers going forward.
- Film & Animation