John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.
Jerry works in his father-in-law's car dealership and has gotten himself in financial problems. He tries various schemes to come up with money needed for a reason that is never really explained. It has to be assumed that his huge embezzlement of money from the dealership is about to be discovered by father-in-law. When all else falls through, plans he set in motion earlier for two men to kidnap his wife for ransom to be paid by her wealthy father (who doesn't seem to have the time of day for son-in-law). From the moment of the kidnapping, things go wrong and what was supposed to be a non-violent affair turns bloody with more blood added by the minute. Jerry is upset at the bloodshed, which turns loose a pregnant sheriff from Brainerd, MN who is tenacious in attempting to solve the three murders in her jurisdiction. Written by
While first screening the film, Gene Siskel leaned over to fellow critic and co-host Roger Ebert and said with a smile "this is why we love movies." Siskel & Ebert went on to name it the best film of 1996. See more »
While driving, the shots of Gaear show him in a cloud of cigarette smoke. When the shots switch to Carl, there's no smoke at all. See more »
The Coen brothers' 'Fargo' is nearly a great film: a beautifully shot, blackly comic thriller that quietly subverts every convention of the genre. This is a film where the remote mid-western city of Minneapolis plays the same role as New York in a normal crime story, a hub of civilisation and vice; where the hero is a woman (and a heavily pregnant, happily married woman at that); and the chief villain a car salesman of absolutely no slickness whatsoever. In a final irony, most of the action doesn't even take place in Fargo, but in the even more obscure town of Brainerd. Yet I found it hard to love this film. At brief moments (in depicting the relationship of policewoman Marge, played superbly by Frances McDormaid, and her husband), it feels astonishingly tender, yet at others, it feels as if it is simply making fun of the strange folks from outer America with the wacky accents and absurdly stoical demeanour. And the combination of deadpan acting and frankly silly plot excess sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Above all else, perhaps, 'Fargo' lacks a beating heart: while nearly moving, and nearly funny, there's a part of this film that refuses to commit itself, that prefers to hold back and mock not just its subjects, but also the idea that a film should take itself seriously. The Coens are widely celebrated as among the best film-makers of our age, but watching their films, I usually end up wondering whether irony is not a slightly over-rated virtue. Fargo looks lovely, and weird, and has a wry outlook all of it's own; but it won't make you laugh out loud, or cry. If it wasn't called a masterpiece I might almost like it.
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