Director: Joel Coen
God damn, this movie.
Like many, I loved (LOVED) Fargo when we saw it in the theater back in 1996, and I watched it several times in the years immediately following, but it's been a long stretch since I last watched it beginning to end. I was watching the final 20 minutes or so of Blood Simple on TCM, and Jamie suggested we record Fargo and watch it in a day or so, and as Jamie is wise, I was on board.
And, really, the two movies aren't a bad pairing.
Blood Simple - the Coens' first - is a horror-like noir with trappings of unfaithful wives, murder of lovers, which might have been in drawing rooms in the 1940's and is transplanted to suburban Texas (the greater Austin area) where it all takes on a sheen of low-fi, red neckiness. But it also is Texas mean - something we'd see repeated in their adaptation of No Country For Old Men.
Famously, Fargo (1996) takes place between Fargo, North Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota, with stops in Brainerd, Minnesota - and all in the whiteout dead of winter. The film exists in empty spaces, from the wide open plains of Brainerd to parking lots with a single car to lake fronts in winter. Minneapolis, with people huddled inside, has its own sense of emptiness. Even the spacious home of the Lundegaards has a kind of desolation.