Get PJ Media on your Apple

Klavan On The Culture

Don’t Miss FX’s TV-Version of Fargo

July 11th, 2014 - 12:31 pm

FargoLogo

I’ve had so much to say about so many things that I haven’t had a chance to put up a quick review of the TV version of Fargo recently on FX.  I’m afraid a lot of people who would have loved this show might have missed it on the first go-round. The problem was, the first episode was delightfully complex and murderous, a really good imitation of the tone and content of the original (great) Coen Brothers movie of the same name. But there was so much in the pilot that, almost by necessity, the second and third episodes felt as if they fell off a little. I know a few people who stopped watching at this point. A mistake, it turns out. The show climbed right back to the level of the first episode and then continued to get better and better until it was absolutely spectacular.

The show really managed to capture the Fargo tone of foul crime in the good-natured heartland. Great plotting, great dialogue, great characters played by great actors. Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton were absolutely wonderful — their characters both so villainous in such different ways that their interaction became kind of a running meditation on the nature of evil. Not as much flash and dazzle as True Detective but far, far better on the crime story fundamentals. A really gripping ride. 

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
I actually think the show went haywire when Thornton's character Lorne Malvo went on a spree and killed EVERYBODY. By the end of the show, I think he had killed about 30 people. His character seemed so evil and otherworldly as to be uninteresting, it lost the 'noir' feel of the original. Malvo seemed like a more unleashed version of Anton Chigurh.

And what the hell was the subplot involving the Greek grocer and his blackmailer? Three episodes of 'totally irrelevant', that's what.

Freeman was great though, and I enjoyed how the writers flirted between sympathy and contempt for the character.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the show is quite funny…albeit, pitch-black funny. It’s really better described as a dramatic dark comedy (while Breaking Bad, for example, was an often comedic dark drama)…I think the show’s creator refers to it as a comedy.

Tolman is simply wonderful and is really the main character although she gets billing as a supporting actor behind Freeman and Thornton.

Thornton’s Lorne Malvo is one of the most fascinating villains to appear on screen in some time…he’s a malevolent and murderous trickster god…I can’t imagine anyone else in the role.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah. I grew up in the Midwest and by golly there was not one false note, culturally, over the entire 10 episodes. So this Noah Hawley fellow, is he Jewish? I asked myself. Yes, yes, he is- as are the Coen bros. I saw an article on Ynet about this sort of thing, referencing both the screen and TV versions of Fargo, attributing the success of Jews in the arts to the Bible and its brilliant use of story: "Mordechai (Max) Shatner, the author of "The Success of the Storytellers"...is convinced that the Jewish culture has developed and improved the ancient art of creating stories, and is the real and direct cause of Jews' phenomenal success in the world."

So there you go. What a poor place this world would be without the Tribe.

BTW, I agree with the comment about True Crime by Hayabusa. How Klavan got into the mind of that condemned guy so effectively is something I'm still trying to figure out.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Agree, agree, and agree. I thought Billy Bob was a shoo-in for some kind of award until I saw True Detectives with Woody and Matthew. But I still think Billy Bob was mesmerizing. The female cop was excellently good, and no one mentions Carradine as her father, the ex-cop. I thought he brought gravitas and decency to his part, too.

One small caveat is I hated the end. Hated both the set up as being un-American and a cheat, and hated that it means if the show does come back for another round it will necessarily have a different vibe.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
POSSIBLE SPOILER -- I don't know that I would call it a cheat, but it was that all-too-typical Hollywood ending of where certain characters act one way throughout the entire story and then do something uncharacteristic in the last chapter that is key to the resolution.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
High praise, coming from the guy who wrote my all-time favorite thriller novel, True Crime. I've been looking for something decent to follow on TV ever since Breaking Bad ended. I'll have to check Fargo out.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nailed it! Great mini-series. My wife and I are watching Tyrant now...nowhere near the same caliber of series as there are adult situations and somewhat nauseating, but if it's anywhere near as good in the end as other FX shows, I'll roll with it.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
View All