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Fargo (1996) Movie Review

A murder mystery with a touch of black comedy from the Coen brothers. Fargo is critically acclaimed as one of the best films of the 90s. It's been included in the Top 100 American Films list.

While the Coen brothers were relatively new to directing during this era, they delivered a unique plot that is still being discussed today.

Plot Overview

The film begins with a car executive sales manager named Jerry Lundegaard working as usual in a company owned by his father-in-law, Wade Gustafson. He desperately needs money and plots to kidnap his wife, Jean, so that he can take money from Wade. He hires small-time criminals Carl Showalter and Gaear Grimsud to do the job. He promises them half of the ransom, which is $80,000. Jerry pitches a real estate deal worth $750,000 to Wade and calls off the kidnapping. Wade informs Jerry that he will personally make the deal if Jerry agrees to pay a finder's fee.

Meanwhile, Carl and Gaear successfully kidnap Jean and transport her to a small cabin far away from town. They were stopped by a state trooper and killed him after hearing Jean screaming at the back of the vehicle. The kidnappers also killed two passers-by after witnessing the crime.

Seven months pregnant police, Marge Gunderson receives a call about the crime and begins investigating. Her brilliant analysis led her to correctly assume the state trooper's intentions and look for clues to the two other victims. Meanwhile, the kidnappers demand Jerry the $80,000 because they had to get their hands dirty for the kidnapping. Things didn't go as planned when Wade insisted on handling the situation himself after hearing from Jerry that the kidnappers demanded $ 1 million. Jerry must find a way to clean up his mess before the criminals take advantage of the situation.


Fargo brought in the wonderful talents of William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, and many more. This is also the first of three Best Actress wins for Frances McDormand. She played an incredible role as a brainy pregnant cop who laughs at her, but her analysis is always on-point.

I never expected much about Fargo's plot. I thought it was a typical murder mystery, but the dark humor added a bit of uniqueness to it. Although it's quite disappointing that it didn't win against The English Patient, it still received accolades from other award-giving bodies.

This film is wholly fiction, but an opening text states that the story is real and happened in Minnesota. However, in the end, they explained that the movie is not real and completely fiction. It's one of those pieces of text that misdirects you.


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