Genre: Dark Crime Dramedy
Watched: Late August, 2014
Summary: Evil Walks the Earth
I’m generally a big Coen brothers fan — as I like things both dark and surreal. Certainly the movie Fargo was a great film, but this show, without redoing anything, replicates a bit of the feel of the film while taking it to the next level. Perhaps this is due to the current Golden Age of narrative television, and the subject matter’s relatively inexpensive nature. The longer form format of television (10 hours instead of 2) allows for a greater depth of character.
Now, you have to do it well, and Fargo (the show) executes in spades. From pitch perfect casting, to great writing, to dark moody music, to overall feel — this is television at its best.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKs8DzjPDMU]
Fargo is a show about a “normal” small American town and what happens when Billy Bob Thornton’s rivetingly evil trickster of an assassin arrives, strewing chaos and blood in his wake. This character isn’t so much human as a force of nature, a malevolent spirit of concentrated hitman, or perhaps the overcoat wearing incarnation of Loki, Norse trickster god. By crafty manipulation (always a dark riot) he pulls people strings and sets in motion a year long orgy of murders.
The characters have that Coen Brother over-the-top quality, with a touch of the comic. Yet the best ones, like Lester (the weasly guy), the talented nonsense female deputy, and Colin Hank’s doe eyed patrol officer are deftly drawn and fully realized humans. This, combined with the fine, fine acting, and the amazing dark comic tone, really make the show hard to stop watching. It’s also filled with references to itself, Coen movies, the film Fargo, and more than its share of parables, allegories, riddles and the like. A David Lynch murder mystery that actually makes sense, these elements are fully in balance. A use of a certain amount of parallelism and coincidence transcends cliche to become art.
Like the people, the setting is just nailed. The Minnesota accents. All that cold. The snow. The heavy coats, boots, and hats. It might be okay in the summer, but why would anyone want to winter there? But in a show, the town and the surrounding woods and lake become almost actors in of themselves. And it’s worth mentioning the music, which is almost reminiscent of The Last of Us, and equally effective. The both event include this “ching” sound which punctuates the starkness to draw your attention.
So if you liked dark comedy, and appreciate a good hour of tension, with an almost everyday horror quality, tune in.