Fargo (1996)
Directed by Joel Coen

Artistic & Entertainment Value
* * * ½

DVD In Association with
Rent DVDs online!
In the USA:
Try Netflix For Free.In the UK:

Set in snow bound Minnesota, Fargo relates the efforts of a car salesman to extort ransom money from his father-in-law by having his own wife kidnaped, as well as those of a police officer, Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), to find the abducted woman.

Joel Coen has created in Fargo a film that is whimsical in an ordinary way, conventionally well made, and pleasantly diverting. It is not an impressive movie, but it is consistently enjoyable.

Each of the actors makes every effort to imbue his character with quirkiness, but such efforts, instead of being false and annoying, actually manage to keep the viewer amused. Steve Buscemi, in particular, is a delight to watch as one of the kidnappers. Frances McDormand's portrayal of Marge is also memorable. While characters similar to those in Fargo have appeared in numerous other films, the actors infuse them with such life that they invigorate the movie and make it genuinely entertaining, despite its general mediocrity.

Moreover, though the events of the narrative unfold in a less than surprising manner, they are able to keep the viewer's interest. Both the exploits of the two hoodlums hired to kidnap the car salesman's wife and the investigations of Marge Gunderson remain engaging throughout. The movie may not be memorable, but it is fun to watch.

Fargo is a good example of a well made, ordinary film. It is not art, nor is it distinctive, but it is still enjoyable.

Review by Keith Allen

Home Page / Alphabetical List of Films
List of Films by Star Ratings
Aesthetic Principles / Guide to Ratings
Criteria for Inclusion / DVD Stores / Blog

© 2004 Keith Allen. All rights reserved.
Revised 2005

Click Here

banner 2