Movie Review: Fargo (1996)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1996 movie starring Steve Buscemi and William H. Macy.

Synopsis: Under pressure to cover up his embezzlement from the car dealership he works at, Jerry Lundegaard makes arrangements to have his wife kidnapped to force his wealthy father-in-law to pay a hefty ransom. However, his plan quickly unravels when one of the kidnappers kills a police officer and two witnesses, prompting an investigation from a pregnant police chief.


My wife and I were trying to get quite a few things done at home last weekend but wound up distracted by some films we came across on one of our movie channels. One of these films happened to be Fargo.

I was attending college near the Twin Cities when this movie first came out and, as a result of that, wound up watching it at least a dozen times between its release and my graduation. And, my wife and I have watched this movie together on at least a couple other separate occasions. However, it had been a while since I watched the film and, because of that, there were some things I didn't remember about it. As a result, this past weekend's viewing was somewhat fresh and the film still managed to be entertaining.

I think the thing I like best about this movie is the way Jerry's (Macy) plans unravel so quickly. This film was basically an instructional video of what not to do when arranging a kidnapping, starting with making sure the people you are hiring actually know what they are doing so you don't wind up being an accessory to a triple homicide.

The other thing I like about this film is the wide variety of characters and the way the actors portrayed them. Jerry, for example, was always very nervous (even when he didn't need to be) while the police chief (McDormand) was deceptively clever.

The one character that really intrigued me most, however, was the father-in-law. Wade (Presnell). It was obvious he didn't trust Jerry to do anything and that, combined with his stubbornness, made him much more of a wild card than I was expecting, especially when Jerry was trying to collect the ransom money and Wade kept wanting to do things his way instead. That helped keep the movie from becoming too predictable.

Final Opinion

This is a good movie with a great cast portraying interesting characters. I enjoy it every time I watch it and do recommend it.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 03/29/2017, StevenHelmer
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StevenHelmer on 03/30/2017

I haven't seen the TV series yet. But, it is on my "to watch" list.

dustytoes on 03/30/2017

Good movie, and good series too. I look forward to the new episodes this season.

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