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Fargo (SE)
DVD disk
01.11.2005 By: Indiana Sev
Fargo (SE) order
Director:
Joel Coen

Actors:
Frances McDormand
William H. Macy
Steve Buscemi

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A Minnesotan car salesman, Jerry Lundegaard (Macy) hires two men to kidnap his wife so that he can get his hands on some of his father-in-law’s ransom loot for an idea he’s got cooking. Things go from bad to worse as the kidnapping goes wrong, blood gets shed and a crafty, pregnant police officer gets on their trail.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
H.I., a loveable, hopeless, criminal boob, stealing diapers and learning about love in RAISING ARIZONA; The Dude, the king of all slackers who just wanted to replace a ruined carpet in THE BIG LEBOWSKI and Ed Crane, just a shadow of a man, looking for purpose in the black and white, film noir world of THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE. I bring up these characters from various Coen brothers films to illustrate just how unique, quirky and ambitious these writer/directors are on every single film that they make.

This is what I’ve always come to expect from their films and I have yet to be disappointed by one of them. FARGO is no exception. They don’t “dumb” down their scripts for the audience and they don’t pander to what they think you might like, but rather attempt to continuously weave snappy, fun and always meaningful films that will never have you contemplating the money or time that you spent on them. In FARGO, the unique character is Marge Gunderson, an easy going, pregnant police officer, with a great outlook on life, looking for some really bad seeds.

FARGO is perfect right across the board, from the hauntingly appropriate score to the breathtaking, lonely and desolate Midwest winter landscape that director of photography Roger Deakins so beautifully captures; these images and sounds alone make the film worth your time and attention. As in all movies from the brothers Coen, the actors inhabit their characters brilliantly, Macy and McDormand both received Oscar nominations (Frances won) and the two fuck-up kidnappers are memorably put to screen by the great Steve Buscemi and the always creepy and talented Peter Stormare. Any movie by these filmmakers is an acquired taste, but for anyone who truly appreciates and loves the magic and beauty of the movies, this one is worth the nibble. The film also nabbed the brothers' their first Oscar for Best Screenplay.
THE EXTRAS
This is a Special Edition DVD and as such has plenty of great extras.

It all starts off with a documentary entitled “Minnesota Nice” (~30 min.). The Coens, McDormand, Buscemi, Stormare and Macy all recount how special and unique an experience shooting Fargo was. I appreciated that this documentary was a newly produced one as well, with the actors looking back and commenting with genuine fondness and showing great pride in having been involved with the film as Fargo-mania overtook many back in 1996. The many themes of the film are also discussed in the documentary. An audio commentary by director of photography Roger A. Deakins is also included. One of the elements I most enjoyed about Fargo was its “look”. The dreary landscapes and wonderfully captured vistas are a major part of the attraction and Deakins does a great job of taking us through those scenes. There are quite a few lulls in the commentary, however Deakins has worked on over half a dozen of the Coens’ films so his few scattered insights into their filmmaking process is pretty interesting and valuable for fans of the filmmaking duo.

A twenty-minute interview segment on “The Charlie Rose Show” is also included, with Joel, Ethan and Frances all taking part. Rose is one of the best interviewers around which makes their Q & A session extremely compelling and a must-see for all Coen bros. fans. There is also an option to activate a trivia track during the film which allows “pop-ups” to appear on screen with interesting and trivial facts about the scene in question. Also included is an American Cinematographer article about Roger Deakins, Fargo’s director of photography. This is an in-depth and very interesting spread for anyone who wonders about the working relationship he has with the Coens and how he made those wonderful sequences in the film what they are.

A photo gallery, trailers and a TV spot round out this barrage of extras.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This is truly a movie to experience more than once: it’s got dark comedy, hilarious dialogue, a well-fashioned, thrilling script, quirky characters and a feel-great sensation in the end. The Coen brothers are two of the most gifted and original filmmakers of our time and it’s essential that every film buff give these two rebels a shot. The Fargo DVD also has a very impressive assortment of extra features which every fan will adore. In other words, buy it and love it!
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