Kees Chalmers’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Coen brothers work is always something that I’ve been fascinated with. The projects they take on are all so distinctly theirs and I love the way they push the boundaries of certain tropes and genres. They’ve made some strange films but this may be their weirdest one and it’s all for the better. The dark comedy is ever present here and it never skips a beat. It’s something they always incorporate into their films but I don’t think it’s ever worked better. It’s gut bustingly hilarious in so many moments.
Fargo has an ever consistent feeling of intensity. It never feels as if we’d halted to a standstill but with every passing second and every piece of dialogue we’re always moving foward to progress the plot. The storytelling and structure is done in a very odd way that would only work if it was the Coen brothers behind the camera and writing the screenplay. They do a fantastic job at subverting your expectations at every cross road. Whenever you think you know what’s going to happen the Coen brothers completely flip it on your head with this masterfully and intricately written script. As much as there is moments where you’re laughing in spite of yourself in the black comedy aspect but there’s also moments where it’s genuinely fucked up and gruesome. But it’s not done in a way that feels unnecessary just to be edgy but instead done in a way that feels like it adds something to the story and overall experience. And the build up and tone shown throughout warrants those kind of moments. But even in those scenerios they don’t go too over the top with the gore and retains its tone and stays grounded.
The performances are off the charts whether you’re talking about Frances Macdormand who possibly gives her best performance. Apart from her incredibly annoying accent (which is intentional) she is terrific. She provides fantastic comic relief while at the same time hitting the emotional and serious notes when necessary. Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare are great counter parts to one another as Buscemi is obnoxious and loud partnered up with a subdued and mundane Stormare. They never miss a beat and they’re dynamic is perfect.
Fargo is an excellent film by the Coen Brothers filled with fantastic dark comedy that’ll have you holding your sides in spite of yourself, great performances and direction that is so distinct.