Monday 27 January 2014


There are a number of films which "everybody" has seen, everbody except me that it. My friends and family seem to believe there is a significant gap in my film and cultural knowledge. So to plug the gap, get "in jokes" and because some of them are apparently very good we got a Lovefilm subscription for both new releases and "classic" films I had missed.  This also led to film night, where once a week we watch a film (and there is no stitching allowed).

This week we got Fargo. It featured in a lot of the 'top film' lists, got a really high rating on IMDB and neither my husband or I had seen it. It was a very good film, 20 hours after watching it and I am still thinking about it. I am unable to give it a classification that I am happy with, it is a crime drama and a thriller and a comedy. It is set around a man who wants to get his wife kidnapped so he can split the ransom that his father in law will pay and the persistent pregnant police woman who is on the case. The film is set in North Dakota, this provides a backdrop of snow and, at times, low visibility. This adds a lot to the film as it is very dramatic, bleak and calm which is a good reflection of the film itself. It also contributes to the feel of the film which is understated and bare. The other advantage of snow as a backdrop is that it shows up blood.

Despite being about murder and crime the film has a gentle plodding pace and feel. Nothing seems rushed. Everything is bare and stark, and the sex scenes are in no way glamorous. There is a lack of emotion shown by all characters only broken by the odd outburst of despair or anger. This means that when emotion is shown it stands out. In between the violence there are shots of normal domestic life and relationships which is a stark contrast to most crime dramas where the crime solving is all inclusive.  There are also side plots that I feel are there because they are for the sake of showing that not everything needs to be explained or part of the main plot. The acting is incredible throughout, the characters are consistent  often delivering lines in a deadpan way that must have been challenging to maintain.

Starting the film by saying that it is a true story puts the audience in an interesting frame of mind. As a viewer you start to wonder about the string of events but also how people are portrayed and how they feel about the portrayal. It is also a good way to get the audiences attention straight away as you feel like you are watching a film about something that has changed people lives. By the end I was convinced that there had been quite a lot of artistic licence used and looking it up it only seems very vaguely based on a crime in the area but not as extensive as the film shows.

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