Episode 23 : Fargo

In 1996, Joel and Ethan Coen brought us the highly celebrated independent film, Fargo. Together, the Coen Brothers wrote, directed, produced and edited this little-film-that-could, while making Minnesotan niceties a familiar staple in American households. Receiving critical and commercial success, this picturesque journey from Minnesota to North Dakota remains haunting over 20 years later, forever covering the great white North with blood-spotted snow.

▶️(05:00) After a man hires two thugs to kidnap his wife in order to extort money, it’s up to a small Minnesotan town police chief to connect a triple homicide to the kidnapping. Among discussing how Fargo fits into the Coen Brothers catalogue, we’ll dissect the unflappable ensemble cast, the solid character development within, the usage of the film’s realistic tone and noir style, as well as how the violence and black humor of the film intertwine.

▶️(37:14) Picks of the Week:
Keeping with the isolated feeling of winter in Fargo, Justin goes for Sam Raimi’s neo-noir, “what would you do if...” crime thriller, A Simple Plan (1998). Conversely, Lindsay takes us out of blustery cold to Southern California, finding Fargo’s Frances McDormand playing a record producer reconnecting with her uptight son and fiancé in Laurel Canyon (2002).

▶️(53:20) Justin Hayward drops by to highlight Fargo’s cinematographer, Roger Deakins. For this Fargo segment, Hayward deconstructs why and how Deakins chose to light a disturbing night scene involving Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare being pulled over by a police officer.

▶️(1:03:00) Wouldn’t ya know it? Billy dropped in on McDormand in the HBO mini-series, Olive Kitteridge (2014). We dive into their scenes together, and how the final moment of the series ends in an eerily similar way as Fargo.

Fargo is chocked full of unforgettable, beautifully staged scenes and nuanced performances showing the interconnectedness of characters. Certainly a crime drama and thriller with black humor weaved throughout, Fargo remains a brilliantly constructed atmospheric film, evocative of a special time in independent film history. Yassir, you betcha, eh.

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