Fargo is a great film for me, but I can't say it's a great Coen Brother's film, because I myself have very little experiences with most of their filmography. Other than this movie, I've only seen No Country for Old Men and The Big Lebowski, but I can't remember anything about the former since I've watched it back when I'm more into dumb blockbusters, and I somehow don't find the latter very funny, maybe because either I'm not very familiar with the American Culture or I just have a crappy sense of humor. But I'll have to admit that judging from the wikis and TV Tropes, the brothers really are one of the few filmmakers willing to tap into different genres, and seemingly managed to made a lot of good products out of them. So as far as the Coen Brother's movies go, I would say Fargo is one of their most accessible movies for newcomers, especially for those who wonders what's all the fuzz for the FX anthology series based on the movie itself.
Based on a "true" story (It isn't true, it's just a fictional disclaimer for audiences to suspend their disbeliefs), Fargo largely takes place at 1987 and, ironically, in Brainerd, Minnesota (Brainerd won't make such a good movie title, but Fargo? Wells Fargo Bank proved that it sounds nice already). Long story short, our supposed-protagonist Jerry Lundegaard, a desperate car salesman, tried to stage a kidnapping of his own wife with some questionable criminals, so he could claim a slice of the supposed ransom out of his wife's wealthy father. Naturally, things go bad. Really bad. Like massacre bad. That's when our true protagonist, pregnant and competent police chief Marge Gunderson, steps in and try to solve the case before Jerry's already dumbass plan could claim even more lives than in Akihabara.
The movie is viewed from three perspectives: One on Jerry terribly trying to stick to his plans together, another on Marge investigating the murders with such friendly attitude while having a relatively simple and mundane life with her husband, and the criminal trying their "best" not to put holes on anyone else. Pitting these events together in the middle of a freezing Midwest country, along with the Coen Brother's dark humor, somehow makes the movie a delight to watch. Yah, there's bloodshed happening and terrible events throughout the movie, but with the villains (and selfish assholes) being greedy idiots more often than not, and everyone else seems so simple-minded to the core that the word "greed" doesn't exist on their heads, along with some deviously clever writing, that sometimes we just laugh whenever something bad happened in such gruesome-yet-humorous tone.
Straight from Jerry's mouth in the first few scenes, you can tell that the population of the Midwest in this movie have some very weird accent, spewing out words such as "Oh yah", "Aw jeez", "You Betcha", etcetera, as if they're in an opera house. I'm not sure if the filmmakers exaggerated or totally made up the whole accent, but man, the Minnesota accent here is quite hammy, for better or worse. For me, I kinda like it, as it's somehow my first view of the stereotypical American Midwest culture, where everyone is extremely nice to each other, even if in a dislike tone.
Even though the characters isn't interesting enough that you would want someone to survive through the movie, the cast that played them in general are pretty good, and their appearances suit the characters they portrayed very well. William H. Macy was great as the schemy everyman Jerry Lundegaard. Frances McDormand is a joy to watch as Marge Gunderson, whose cheerful personality help us cope with the rest of the movie's ongoing dark comedy and bloodshed. The Great Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare are pretty good as the incompetent criminals that mucked up everything that Jerry has planned. There are a lot of minor-yet-good performance too, but my favourite of them all is actually Marge's husband, Norm Gunderson, who was played by John Carroll Lynch. For me, John did so good for even a heavily minor role, it's a delight for me to saw him playing a suspicious suspect in Zodiac, extremely well. So in my naive opinion, John Carroll Lynch is one of America's most underrated national treasure, period.
Unfortunately, I don't think I could say much about the cinematography and the soundtrack in general, because (1) I'm still a long way to go when it comes to analyzing movies, and (2) My essay writing is becoming rusty these days. But I will say this. You should watch Fargo at least once in your lifetime, especially if you're intigued with, or did enjoyed the FX anthology series. Actually, after viewing it, I kinda wondered what would a Japanese-style Fargo movie would sounds like.
Not from the film, but from the series. And it's an excuse to put it here.