A mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.
Robert De Niro,
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
An instant classic. I must admit what attracted me at first was the wood chipper incident I had heard about but by the time the movie gets there, I was in a totally in a different universe. While the movie does not have anything to keep you glued to the screen (a wicked script, lots of action) you can't prevent yourself from wanting to see what happens next. This is due to the wonderfully portrayed characters. Steve Buscemi's performance as Carl Showalter is fabulous. I love when he is confronted by Shep Proudfoot and tells him to "hey man, smoke a f***in peace-pipe", or any of his conversations with Jerry Lundegard are priceless - "I'm not going to debate you Jerry, I'm not going to DEBATE". My recent favorite is when he storms out of the hideout and says "and if you see Shep Proudfoot, tell him I'm gonna nail his f***kin ass". The Jerry Lundegard character is such a beautiful loser, I don't know where to begin. I especially love his reappearing temper tantrums(slamming the phone book in his office, scraping the ice off the windshield, jumping up and down after his father in law leaves the house with the million dollars) and practicing the phone call to his father in law where he tells him his wife has been kidnapped - too funny. Marge Gunderson is the glue that holds it all together with a performance by Frances Mcdormand well deserved of an Oscar. I thought they might have overdid it a tiny bit with the scene with Marge and the two hookers (too many "Ya's" in it) but otherwise a wonderful, refreshing character in the middle of a bunch of losers. Her character is so honest and persistent, it makes me wonder why I cant find a woman like that - and then I realize, I'm watching a movie and a brilliant one at that.
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