Oct 8 2021
Coen Brothers: Fargo (1996)
We're finishing our series on the Coen Brothers with the film that made them household names: Fargo.
Jerry Lundergard, desperate for money to pay off an unspecified debt, hires two goons to kidnap his wife and demand a ransom from his wealthy father-in-law, part of which Lundergard will keep for himself. But, as is usually the case in the world of the Coens, the scheme does not go according to plan, as the hired guns leave a pile of dead bodies in their wake and Frances McDormand's pregnant police chief is soon on their trail.
The Coens had enjoyed a career of critical acclaim and cult cachet among cinephiles up to this point, but Fargo is what brought them into the mainstream. A darkly comic neo noir, as well as a kind of treatise on contentment and domestic bliss, the film was immediately hailed as a masterpiece, with the character of Marge Gunderson becoming instantly iconic. The Coens have made better films, but they have never again captured the zeitgeist in quite the same way as with this cold, melancholy little crime classic.