Every once in a while we are treated to a story so sublimely told, that we want to shout about it in the face of everyone we know. Get your handkerchiefs, cause I am preparing to shout about Fargo!
Truly we have been spoiled for choice with series these past few years. The Breaking Bad phenomenon paved the way for some insanely flavourful crime dramas without relying on big budgets, shiny post-production and instead opting for the classic one-two of EVERYTHING AWESOME.
It's not like Fargo lacks the star power of, say, True Detective but it is hardly lacking in acting power! Martin Freeman (fantastic job, now off to film for Sherlock you!) turns in a surprising performance as a miserable insurance agent in the small snowy town of Bemidji Minnesota whose life turns upside down in a (shit)snow-storm of events. In the eye of the storm we get to meet other colourful yet seemingly incredibly normal folks who "clash" with the other side of the character spectrum due to the darker figures of the story that is told. The contrast, blend and interaction is sublime as the writing rips you right out of the seat from the very first second, delivering deliciously dark comedy within an incredibly human drama. Much like Coen's Fargo (they are involved as Exec. Producers in the series), violence is never sugar-coated nor are any punches pulled as the body count rises incredibly throughout 10 majestic episodes while blood mixes with snow and religious symbolism.
"Surprise" seems to be the order of the day as far as Fargo goes. Billy Bob Thornton? Remember him? If not, it don't matter! He was handed a character that at first, in my eyes, seemed to be a miscast! Boy was I wrong. He plays it like an MJ (the basketball player, not the Pop King) clutch shot at the dying moments of an NBA Finals game. Clinically, unbelievably accurately and most of all, absolutely vital.
I cannot speak at all about the story since this is what Fargo is all about. The small-time town, the uninteresting (?) folks within and the chaotic opera that unfolds in the snow. Expect symbolism, uncomfortable laughter, roaring laughter and gasps.
Everything is pure 10/10. Every director involved wore their best suit to the job and aced every shot. The writing? The stuff of legends, seriously. Here are characters that belong in lists somewhere going through a story for the ages. The score? Outlandishly epic which came as a surprise (see? this is a recurring theme in Fargo).
Should you watch the original 1996 film before heading into the series? In all honesty you should just watch the original film anyway because it will tell you all you need to know about the vibe that the series follows. And because it was a fantastic film bringing Oscar gold to Frances McDormand and (for me, the most important Academy Award) for Best Original Screenplay to Joel And Ethan. Just watch it anyway!
Deliciously dark humour, twists and turns, powerful characters, intense storytelling and a long wait till next year for Season 2! I seriously cannot recommend it enough.
For all intents and purposes, this is the new Breaking Bad. There, I said it.
- Frixos Masouras 2014