Turned down for a loan by his grumpy but rich father-in-law, he decides to go an alternative route by kidnapping his own harridan of a wife. The heavies he hires are hardly the most trustworthy of fellas and he soon finds himself responsible for a rapidly escalating body count.
There's so much to get excited about with Fargo, it's hard to know where to begin. First up there's Roger Deakins' distinctive cinematography, which transforms the nondescript snowy terrain into a landscape as desolate as the lead characters' souls. Then there's the quirky local accents ('Oh yar!'). The best thing here, though, is the raft of entertaining characters peopling the Coens' surprisingly irony-free story of good versus evil. On one side there is William H Macy's beautifully played weasel of a car salesman and Steve Buscemi's desperately unlucky kidnapper. Evil is almost impossible to personify as just plain stupid but these two turkeys manage it perfectly. On the other side of the fence is Francis McDormand's lovely police officer Margie. Seven months pregnant and still plodding her way to justice, she represents the human heart beating at the centre of this old-school morality tale.
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