Fargo (1996) is a fun movie. An early film in the career of The Cohen Brother’s, Fargo is police officer investigating a crime committed by a group of bungling criminals.
What truly makes this movie something special is the constant juxtaposition between the nice, polite mannerisms of the main characters and the horrible, brutal acts of violence in the movie.
One scene people are saying, “ah, geez” and “darn tootin’”. Then the next scene a guy gets shot in the head. Then some “Oh, for Pete’s sake!” and “The heck do ya mean?” Then a guy gets tossed in the woodchipper.
This juxtaposition does two major things. One, it creates a fun humor present throughout the movie. The extreme politeness and extreme violence being so close together garners a lot of laughs in scenes that otherwise wouldn’t be very funny. The other thing the juxtaposition does is that the extreme politeness furthers the extreme violence by making the violence, by comparison, seem so much worse.
The tonal whiplash you feel watching this movie, is so incredibly well planned and intentional, that it makes the movie nothing less than fascinating. You really don’t know how to react when a character gets shot and says “oh jeez.”
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