Looking back at the success of ‘Fargo’

Nick Mayer, Staff Writer

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‘Twenty years ago, the Coen Brothers redefined the crime genre with the successful release “Fargo.” “Fargo” tells the story of two henchmen tasked with kidnapping the wife of ailing car salesman Jerry Lundegaard, so he can get rich quick off the ransom pay from his disapproving father-in-law. The film received widespread praise for the wonderfully paced screenplay, the great cast and its cult following.

“Fargo” shows how a normal, working class man’s foray into the criminal world, in a low risk attempt to get quick money, ended badly. The movie, despite its depressing nature, is also a great dark comedy, full of witty remarks and small jokes. Even though the movie wasn’t all light-hearted and funny, the excellent writing of Ethan and Joel Coen was paced well, and the script functioned as excellent comedic relief.

“Fargo” is also notable for casting talented character actors and actresses like William H. Macy, Peter Stormare, Steve Buscemi and Frances McDormand. Buscemi is a truly excellent actor and can seamlessly transform into any role, from a hardened criminal for the Coen Brothers to a hilarious and slippery serpent in “Monsters Inc.” The most immersive part of this cast, however, is the mastery of the accents, despite the challenging nature of a Minnesotan accent. The skilled cast that can do it all helped set the dark, criminal comedy apart from others and helped the genre become what it is today.

With the massive following the Coen Brothers have today it is no wonder the reasons why “Fargo” worked well with the crowds by having a broad and widely enjoyable plot supported by a wonderful cast. Even twenty years after the initial release, the Coen Brothers have released and worked on countless other movies and even inspired a television spin-off series of “Fargo” on FX  which just completed its second season. The first season of the show follows a man who found the ransom money and another man who commits a series of crimes by mistake with the help of a Fargo hitman.

The Coen Brother have continued with both crime and comedy movies including “The Big Lebowski,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “Hail Caesar,” as well as inspired many other aspiring writers and directors of movies like “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and “The Nice Guys,” but without a movie like “Fargo” to set the bar, the genre would not be the same.

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