Film Critique: Fargo.
Film Critique: Fargo
Fargo is a black comedy film directed by Joel Coen. Black comedy can be characterized as a movie that displays a combination of dry humor, extreme violence, and language. Fargo exposes morbid acts, ill-witted speech, and desolate sceneries, through satiric humor. Each character suffers an irreparable loss, as their actions succumb to irony, and derision. The North Dakota dialect adds comedy relief and the sceneries hint each gruesome act.
Fargo takes the typical-caper-gone-wrong plot and applies a satiric twist.
The film opens in Fargo, North Dakota, where Jerry Lundegaard, Carl Showalter, and Gaear Grimsrud meet to discuss the kidnapping of Jerry’s wife Kristin Rudrud. Jerry, an unsuccessful car salesman, is desperate for a solution to his money problems. He negotiates a car from his lot in addition to 40,000 dollars, for the two crooks, Carl and Gaear to kidnap his wife. Another 40,000 dollars goes to him. He plans to get the money from his father-in-law Wade Gustafson. So the plan is to simply kidnap Jerry’s wife and then ransom her for 80,000 dollars. Neither she nor anyone else is to be harmed. Unfortunately the dim-witted crooks, Carl and Gaear, fumble, leaving behind a trail of blood. Marge Gunderson, a cop, is given the task of investigating the murders, unveiling a sad, true based story. The criminals run into one mishap after another and the situation becomes more complicated.
This is a preview of the whole essay
All things unbearable in real life are presented very casually in this film. Gaear represented this aspect of the film. He was so nonchalant and executed each devious task while showing no emotion. For example, in one scene, he casually finishes his television lunch, and then suddenly swipes his partner Carl over the head with a shovel. Another scene shows him meticulously grinding the bodies of Carl and Jerry’s wife Kristin. Even though he is seen by Marge, he still continues to stuff the rest of Carl’s limbs into the wood grinder. Common sense would indicate that if you are caught doing such a thing you should run, but ironically Gaear does not. He does not even panic when he is captured in the back of Marge’s police car. I had predicted that he would try and escape and kill Marge, being the ruthless character he is, but he quietly and patiently awaits his demise.
I have never been to North Dakota, but Fargo’s characters seem to illustrate the stereotypical characteristics of the “typical” North Dakota resident. The accent, reasoning/observations, and values exemplified a stereotype as does the phrase “funny looking”. Only Fargo residents seemed to know what fit the description of “funny looking”. I found it comic how they expected Marge to reasonably identify Carl based on his “funny looks”. The word “ayah” was also noticeable. Every response or sentence ended with an “ayah” as if to replace an “ugh” sound. Every addition of “ayahs” made the speech and dialogue in the film more funny and interesting.
The setting of the film and its surroundings set a dreary mood. The North Dakota locals almost seemed sarcastic in their non expressive tones. The whiteness of the snow helped emphasize the redness of the blood shed. When Wade and Carl meet and exchange gun shots, the blood stains the snow. As Gaear finishes grinding the bodies the pile of blood and remains stains the snow. It is shots like these that amplify each fatal act. It reenacts the result of wounds and the reality of death.
At the end I was curious what kind of reparation there would be for Gaear’s vicious acts and how Jerry’s son is affected. The film is based on a true story so those thoughts become actual happenings, and remind the viewer how Jerry’s son witnessed the unbearable things of life, in the desolate environment of North Dakota but not so casually. By the end of the film Fargo succeeds in exhausting all notions of morbid acts, ill-witted speech, and desolate sceneries, to create a satisfying dark comedy film.