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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 20.38%
Just Average: 8.28%
Pretty Crappy: 5.73%
Sucks: 9.55%

6 reviews, 121 user ratings

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by Chef ADogg

"This is the kind of movie that makes me try to be smart."
4 stars

I tend to get wordy when dealing with the Coens, which, I'm afraid, is a natural byproduct of their work--overreaching, drooling, hysterical reviews. I'll try to keep this lean.

After the success of "Blood Simple" and "Raising Arizona," the Coens got all stuffy and pretentious. With "Miller's Crossing" and "Barton Fink" it seemed that they were actually *inviting* hyperactive fanboy analysis--a quality that makes those two films seem even more loathsome than they really are.

"Fargo" is a step back to reality, and the homemade charm that their early films were coiled around is in full abundance. The Coens are better than anybody when it comes to showcasing low rent freakiness in an elegant fashion; the framing, the tone, the performances they coax from their actors--they all come together and work, creating a naturally weird atmosphere.

When the Coens are on, you sit back and marvel; when they're off, you slap the eject button. Their films are abrasive at best, and obnoxious at worst--"Fargo" delivers by finding a spot right in the center.

The characters grate, but the filmmaking is restrained and wise. Balance is key.

The most easily cherishable element of "Fargo" is the juicy plot--William H. Macy stars as a dissatisfied car salesman who pays a couple of goons (Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife so he can set up a sweet real estate deal with the help of wifey's own father.


The performances are consistently spot on. Macy, for my money, is probably one of the top five actors out there. Sensitive and subtle, he prompts the audience to react to whatever character he plays without really knowing why. There's something there you can't describe; it's just striking.

Frances McDormand proved herself to be top shelf talent as the pregnant police officer who investigates the kidnapping; given the near impossible task of making a character this righteous likable, she goes over the mark by throwing in (and nailing) a grating Minnesota accent.

The supporting cast blends right into the snowy background, becoming a natural part of the story. Very few big names pop up, and it works in the film's favor; you believe in the characters fully and without reservation.

The script is utterly keen--good lines by the boatload for all actors involved, and a genuine, subtle sense of irony. Watch how the Coens introduce the cliches of quick police officer, sneaky car dealer, and weaselly thief only to blast them with a twist here and a pinch there--what seems almost formula at the get-go turns into half loving, half mocking, all hilarious send up.

Direction? Minimal, at most. The Coens seem to finally be content with just telling the story--you barely feel them there, the sure touch of true talent. The director should work as a middle man between audience and story, and the Coens have always been intrusive when performing the task.

Here, they let the cameras roll and the freakiness fly. They're just like the audience--grabbing some snackies, getting comfortable, and letting the film happen.

"Fargo" has the feel of two men realizing how satisfactory it can be to bask in the warmth when the fire is so apt to light itself.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1416&reviewer=123
originally posted: 11/03/99 20:59:48
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User Comments

9/16/17 morris campbell not bad but overrated 3 stars
3/11/17 richard bad acting, bad accents and in the wrong state 1 stars
11/01/15 FireWithFire White Scandiavians: this movie SHITS ALL OVER YOU - it's jewish racism!!!! 1 stars
3/25/15 stanley welles an intriguing, entertaining movie featuring memorable characters and quotable dialogue 5 stars
6/27/14 Chris Just watched it again. Yup, still hate it. This movie deserves none of its hype or awards. 1 stars
10/21/13 Paul Toth Superb movie, great acting and a warm heroine with a razor sharp mind. 5 stars
12/21/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Great movie! 5 stars
5/31/10 User Name The accents make this quirky dark comedy even funnier. 4 stars
1/24/10 Chad Dillon Cooper The Coen brothers are cinema masters. 5 stars
7/23/09 Meatbog Cinematographily Beautiful. And WOODCHIPPERS! 5 stars
7/07/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* Its a tad bit slow for the average person but if you can accept the dark humor it rocks. 4 stars
4/16/09 Total Crap Macy and Buschemi are the only things going for this movie. 3 stars
1/11/09 Alan Just watched it for the first time. It's like "No Country For Old Men", only better. 5 stars
1/09/09 Scarlett Excellent! could be watched time and time again! perfect reflection of the Coens talent! 5 stars
1/06/09 FrankNFurter Arguably one of the best American films ever made. A must see! 5 stars
9/17/08 Stu The best film ever (no, really, it is). Everything about it is perfect. 5 stars
3/21/08 Pamela White suspense and drama 4 stars
12/24/07 mb Interesting. 4 stars
12/08/07 Sam Eli just fantastic with great acting and directing 4 stars
11/15/07 kdawg i am tramatized after seeing fargo, the sterotypes were annoying & the violence, disgusting 1 stars
9/20/07 David Cohen Is it an insipid drama or an unfunny comedy? Who cares: it sucks 1 stars
6/12/07 al smith the coens best.buscemi and macy at the top of their game 5 stars
1/15/07 jeannie karlsen one of the best dark comedies ever made! truly genius! 5 stars
12/12/06 Sepi53 good film, but overrated! 4 stars
11/02/06 David Pollastrini we need more wood chippers in movies! 5 stars
10/02/06 Jeremy Davies Boring and overrated. I can't see why this movie was nominated for best picture 2 stars
9/24/06 Lisa Craven Macy at his best, never get tired of watching this classic 5 stars
7/27/06 Josh Racine Every scene in the film is classic. 5 stars
4/13/06 Manana Lekborashvili Bravo Coen Brothers'! 5 stars
3/25/06 Thomas Semesky A good movie with interesting characters and a well written script 4 stars
1/22/06 Max B. Nearly ten years on, and this film remains an unmatched classic. 5 stars
1/18/06 John Dog Coen Brothers' best. 5 stars
12/20/05 JJ Probably the worst movie Ive ever seen, people though it was good because of the accents? 1 stars
7/03/05 blowsky mcgraw, i bet youre a dumbass with A.D.D that onlu likes action, retard 5 stars
5/24/05 Jake Brilliant! 5 stars
3/17/05 indrid cold The most overrated movie in the overrated Coen brother's ouevre. 3 stars
2/04/05 Alice Colwell good movie 5 stars
12/11/04 Ghetto Smurf Fucking amazing. I did not lose interest at all during any scene. 5 stars
10/24/04 Ronald A Weiss finally watch the dvd...sorry I waited so long 5 stars
8/16/04 Peter James A good movie...a shame the Coen brothers lied and said it was based on a true story 4 stars
8/14/04 McGraw DUUULL .I was expecting so much more from the Coens. 2 stars
7/18/04 scrambled brain i've seen fargo 5 or 6 times, and never get bored 5 stars
7/17/04 legend A slow but enjoyable movie. Worth getting on DVD. 5 stars
6/30/04 Mikey Crunt One of the most underrated films of all time. Honestly, some people!!!! 5 stars
6/14/04 T. Maj One of the most overrated films of all time 1 stars
6/12/04 Jack Sommersby Too smug and uneven and (when you get right down to it) stupid. 2 stars
4/26/04 Ryan This film just show that fucked up people aren't just from new york and LA. 5 stars
4/05/04 Miss Julie I couldn't love a movie more than this one. LOVE, do you hear me? LOVE!!!! 5 stars
3/22/04 Lord Haw Haw A cliassic. In the top five best movies of the '90s. 5 stars
2/29/04 Phyllis Joy I don't know why this film got so much attention, and especially praise! I didn't like it. 2 stars
1/12/04 john bale Coen Bros. quirky murder mayhem, funny but noir, again proves to be great cinema. 5 stars
12/08/03 john i found it condescending to its charachters - too in love with its own cleverness 2 stars
8/09/03 I Would OH YAH!!! 5 stars
7/11/03 Indrid Cold Radically overrated. Hate that self-conscious "we're quirky indie directors" thing. 2 stars
6/29/03 joshx42 One of the greatest movies of all time. 5 stars
6/26/03 cochese Grabs your attention and keeps it. great acting. 5 stars
4/21/03 Vince A little too weird, but Buscemi is good. 4 stars
4/13/03 M Megraw I laughed thru the whole movie 5 stars
3/31/03 Rebecca Quite Quotable, Intelligently Written, and Excellent Acting 5 stars
1/13/03 Nancy Niedzielski What the hell was the big deal? 2 stars
12/31/02 Andy Todes "it's my deal, wade!" some of the best dialogue you'll ever hear. 5 stars
11/24/02 Kyle Didn't do much for me. And McDormand's accent got on my nerves. 2 stars
11/22/02 Charles Tatum North Dakota Rules!!! Uff-da!!! 5 stars
11/15/02 Big Ted Best Film of 1996.Macy & McDormand are tops! 5 stars
9/07/02 Jim The Coen brothers' best movie. Now, don't you hurt Scotty eh? 5 stars
5/17/02 Priscilla Postlethwaite Greg Muskewitz, Fargo ain't in Minnesota! 3 stars
4/04/02 Edfink Lombardo The Best Film of 1996! Buscemi, Macy, and McDormand are excellent 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver We Minnesotan do kinda talk kinda funny. 5 stars
1/24/02 Elliot for those who just can't let go of Saturday morning cartoons. 1 stars
12/01/01 Carrie Janek I had to watch this for a college cinema class 3 stars
11/30/01 Mark Conway total pish, no character development, just some nuttter who kills ever 1, 1 stars
10/16/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) One of the best of the Coens. 5 stars
9/02/01 Butterbean Margie was as cute as a button in this movie. The Coen bros. knows how to tell a story! 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Surreal Coen brothers experience that tests character and soul. 5 stars
6/24/01 Dean They kill like 10 people, yet the director feels he needs to explain that was bad. PLEASE. 1 stars
6/19/01 Elvisfan One of the only American movies not typically American. That's a good thing.. 5 stars
5/07/01 Mikko Salminen Absolutely the best film ever! 5 stars
4/07/01 Andrew Deikun Incredible movie. Original. Highest recommendation 5 stars
3/31/01 Adam Richards One of my favorites. Jerry Lundegaard is the biggest loser in the history of cinema! 5 stars
3/27/01 saucy terrible!!! terrible!!! terrible!!! 1 stars
3/14/01 Rael A great film, dontchaknow (the Coen Brother's best). 5 stars
3/07/01 Trashstar I found this movie hilarious, very very entertaining. 4 stars
2/12/01 Jake Unlike any film I've seen before. The lesson is that Crime doesn't pay. 5 stars
12/17/00 gariott Frances McDormand and William H Macy are both wonderful, brilliantly acted dark comedy! 5 stars
12/03/00 Cristopher Revilla ok, too much hype but still its worth your fucking money!!!! 5 stars
11/13/00 The EVIL Penguin This movie RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
9/03/00 DarcyElaine Great cinematography, and it introduced the world to W.H.Macy. Other than that, not great. 3 stars
8/24/00 Joep excellent cast enhances a well written plot 5 stars
8/17/00 Matthew Bartley Erm...I've re-evaluated it...still over-rated 4 stars
7/27/00 Chris Drake Wickedly amusing yet overrated.Made-for-tv look.Not based on fact 4 stars
1/12/00 PervertedPixie WAY over-rated, but Buscemi, McDormand and the Coens are cool as always. 4 stars
1/04/00 Nice Guy Eddie not the best from the coens, but worth a trip to the video store. 4 stars
11/19/99 latife arslan white red but black 4 stars
11/08/99 Bozo McDormand great but not Oscar-caliber; Macy was brilliant & so was screenplay 5 stars
10/18/99 Andi steve buscemi's the greatest 5 stars
10/03/99 Frank Fasciano ggg 5 stars
7/27/99 dave the worst movie ever 1 stars
7/23/99 Hagbard Celine One of the best films of the 90s. William Macy is an astoundingly good actor. 5 stars
7/03/99 J-Dogg I really don't get what all the fuckin' fuss is about. This shit wasn't that good. 3 stars
6/29/99 Anakin Soilwalker uh..this..movie..is pretty violent....lots of blood..on the snow...pretty interesting.. 4 stars
6/14/99 Dylan Coen Brother's do it again. Are these guys totally fucking flawless or what? 5 stars
5/04/99 Big Dog William H Macy is really from up North 5 stars
4/21/99 Ah Dooey Still better than Urban Legend, with a few good laughs; in other words: great! 5 stars
3/21/99 A. M. What Hollywood thinks of America. 1 stars
3/17/99 Go Swans Did i like it? Yah 5 stars
2/19/99 Bruce Hedge Right,Ryan A never seen a movie like it! 5 stars
2/17/99 Piz brilliant performances, but why was i cheering for the bad guys?? 4 stars
2/07/99 Vick Di Brecci Very smooth movie. Soundtrack a direct rip of Taxi Driver. Make a note of that 4 stars
1/23/99 Hannah A euphoric movie-going experience. 5 stars
1/11/99 demon_shredder This movie was da bomb 5 stars
1/09/99 Dasha Frances McDormand was fantastic, but overall - overrated crap and big disappointment for me 1 stars
1/02/99 Charles Dubé Another quirky helping of cinematic bliss from the Coen bros.! 5 stars
12/17/98 jenn WOW, this movie sucked 1 stars
12/17/98 Jules A true original. Pretty much perfect. 5 stars
12/09/98 Andrea Great acting, good directing, just worth it for the accents. 5 stars
12/07/98 davebo Great atmosphere, acting, directing, I love it 5 stars
12/07/98 PirateGirl I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more at the accents 5 stars
12/07/98 CaptNish Great flick, but I think it was incredibly overrated. 4 stars
12/07/98 Silent Rob Brilliant Coen-Caper. Stellar performances! A Bona Fide quirk-fest! 5 stars
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  08-Mar-1996 (R)


  02-Jul-1996 (MA)

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