Brainerd's Landmark Watertower:
Dey didn't show ya dis here really big watertower dat we're so
attached ta in dat der movie, did dey?
We was mentioned in dat der purty littl' National Geographic Magazine ting doncha know. Dey wrote up some nice tings about us and our littl' web site. Ya know, dey sure take nice pitures.
A lot can happen in the middle of nowhere.
Thursday, March 14, 1996
FARGO In cold blood in cold climes
By DESSON HOWE
THE WASHINGTON POST
The Coen Brothers' "Fargo," a satirical, macabre saga set on the frigid plains of the American Midwest, works like a charm. A really weird charm, that is. Joel and Ethan Coen have discarded the pretentiousness of their most recent work ("Barton Fink," "The Hudsucker Proxy") in favor of the eerie spirit and deadpan-slapstick of their "Blood Simple" and "Raising Arizona."
And throughout the hypnotized Midwestern atmosphere of this movie - picture a cross between Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" and George A. Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" - Frances McDormand enjoys the comedic role of her career.
In the story, which is loosely based on real events, Minnesota car salesman Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) travels to Fargo, N.D., where he hires thugs Carl (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear (Peter Stormare) to have his wife (Kristin Rudrud) kidnapped. Lundegaard, frustrated by his lack of access to his rich father-in-law's money, intends to split the ransom with Carl and Gaear.
But after the henchmen execute Lundegaard's plan, they're stopped on the road by a trooper and all hell breaks loose. The abductors get away with their hostage, but leave a bloody scene behind them. This brings in Police Chief Marge Gunderson (McDormand), a sweet-tempered, rural American who's smart, sunny and heavily pregnant.
There's a nutty regionalism at work: A surrealistic statue of Paul Bunyan, for instance, greets visitors to Gunderson's little town; the goofy locals never seem to blink and pepper every sentence with a "Yaaaah." Into this, the Coens expertly weave the grotesque, as the kidnappers' desperate plight forces them to take bloodier measures.
(R): Contains sexual situations, profanity and gruesome violence.
- Desson Howe, The Washington Post