Ethan and Joel Coen are moviemakers renowned for their discreetly humorous dialogue and excellent use of atmosphere, and their 1996 offering Fargo is arguably the ultimate testament to this. The movie tells the “true” story of a kidnapping gone horribly wrong and several murders out in the sticks of Minnesota and North Dakota. Through all its exciting, gory detail, it still retains a sense of humor so delicate it remains ambiguous. Whether it’s the violent introduction of Steve Buscemi to a woodchipper, or the sing-song accent of the movie’s various regional extras — not to mention the superb Frances McDormand — the atmosphere remains truly thrilling, unbearably tense, and constantly amusing.
Much less vain, flamboyant, and showy than their other pictures, Fargo bears the thematic influence of Samuel Beckett and the stylish coolness of Finland's Aki Kaurismaki, but the violence is all Coens -- the brothers have returned to their roots, both visually and literally. Their new film is reminiscent of their debut movie, Blood Simple, and its wry look at murder ... Marge is a good cop because everything abnormal stands out like a stain against her white-on-white sanity, her incomprehension [of criminality] is not only her strength as a detective, it justifies the deadpan style of the movie.
Fargo is a strikingly mature, unique entertainment that plays on many levels ... all satisfying.