FX Dramedy ‘Fargo’ Is Terrific…But Experience Reminds Me It Isn’t for Everyone [VIDEO]
One of my all-time favorite movies is Fargo. It is far and away the Coen Brothers' best film. In fact, outside of Raising Arizona, I'm not a fan of just about anything else they've produced/directed/written. (Believe it or not, I've never seen O Brother Where Art Thou?)
And because of my admiration for the movie Fargo, I was very leery of the new FX TV series Fargo. It's not really based on the film. It's just inspired by it. None of the same characters, but the exact same tone.
That's why I love it. And that's why there are many, maybe you, who will hate it.
I have friends of mine with whom I tried to watch Fargo. After it came out in 1996, I praised it to everyone. And so I'd say, "You have to see this!"
On certain occasions, that was a big mistake.
If you're unfamiliar with the movie, Fargo is set in Brainerd, Minnesota. (Only a small portion of the film even takes place in Fargo--the first 5 or so minutes.)
An uptight car salesman, Jerry Lundergaard, has apparently stolen money and taken a vehicle from his dealership--his initial crime is never quite clear--and in order to repay it, he's hired two low-lifes to kidnap his wife. They will, in turn, collect the ransom money from which Lundergaard will take his cut so he can return the money to his dealership.
But events snowball out of control when the wife is killed and more money is demanded.
There's also a pregnant sheriff named Marge Gunderson on the case and she is razor-sharp.
Here's the thing. Fargo is a comedy. But for those who don't get the unique tone of the film--why it is, in fact, funny--all that's left is the plot and a film that isn't as interested in that plot as it is in the quirky characters inhabiting the film. Anyone who doesn't get the true point of Fargo will be lost and will hate it.
(The clip below is one of the better scenes from the movie.)
FX's Fargo maintains that tone. It has its own plot and completely different characters but still elevates that tone to priority number one.
The main difference is that the TV series is a bit more dramatic than the film and that's okay. It works because of the plot we are given. And again, there's a bit more concern for the plot here than in the film.
But there are several nods to the film which are fun for buffs and the acting--particularly by Billy Bob Thornton as a ruthless drifter--is sensational.
If you liked the movie, give the series a try. It's awesome. If you haven't seen the movie or saw it and didn't like it...well...let's just say there's plenty of other stuff to watch.