Fargo 1996

Critics score:
94 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: Fargo, with its grotesque murders and cheery detectives, is a cold gem that takes us to the far north. Its seemingly pitiless light opens up the realms of darkness concealed beneath that world of white. Read more

Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune: It's another daring black comedy by one of the most consistently inventive moviemaking teams of the last decade, brothers Joel and Ethan Coen. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Chief Gunderson was created by the Coens specifically for Frances McDormand ... and they've been rewarded by a brilliant and unblinking comic performance. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: In the fascinating Fargo, writer-director Joel and writer-producer Ethan have come up with a film that is either an oddly funny crime drama or an ultra-deadpan comedy, depending on how you look at it. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: A small, supremely satisfying film. Heck and you betcha, it is. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: All attitude and low aptitude. Its function is to italicize the Coens' giddy contempt toward people who talk and think Minnesotan. Read more

Susan Stark, Detroit News: With Fargo, Joel and Ethan Coen return to the glory days of 1987 and Raising Arizona. Read more

Janet Maslin, New York Times: Fargo has been hauntingly photographed by Roger Deakins with great, expressive use of white-outs that sometimes make the characters appear to be moving through a dream. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: Whether these characters are lovable or detestable, they're lovable or detestable in a TV way -- defined by a minimal set of traits that are endlessly reiterated and incapable of expansion or alteration, a fixed loop. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: The joy of Fargo is that everything that goes wrong does so in a perfectly realized universe of icebound Minnesotan understatement, a landscape so muffled by snow and Scandinavian-bred, low-affect courtesy that even murderous passion comes out goofy. Read more

Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic: The hot news about Joel and Ethan Coen is that they have made a tolerable film. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: A few scenes go around in circles, as if snow-blind, and the humor may be too inward and contorted for some tastes. But McDormand brings order to the weirdness and warms it up. Read more

Dave Kehr, New York Daily News: From the camera angles to the set design, everything is calculated to make the viewer feel superior to the cloddish, geeky characters on display. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: It's easy to admire what the Coens are trying to do in Fargo, but more difficult to actually like the film. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: To watch it is to experience steadily mounting delight, as you realize the filmmakers have taken enormous risks, gotten away with them and made a movie that is completely original, and as familiar as an old shoe. Read more

Laura Miller, Salon.com: The danger in portraying characters you consider significantly less interesting than yourself is that too much superiority and not enough affection can lead to a fatal snottiness. Read more

Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle: A crime gem that is darkly funny even when it's chilling -- and certain to become a classic. Read more

Geoff Andrew, Time Out: The Coens remain effortlessly ahead of the American field. Read more

Leonard Klady, Variety: Fargo is a strikingly mature, uniqueentertainment that plays on many levels ... all satisfying. Read more

Chris Packham, Village Voice: The film is a work of brick-by-brick world-building in the service of characters whose ordinariness is just as carefully crafted. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: Works like a charm. A really weird charm, that is. Read more

Rita Kempley, Washington Post: Gunderson (Frances McDormand) [is] the most endearing, hilarious and wholly feminine heroine since Thelma or Louise. Read more