Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 6 (Fargo)

Today's film is the Coen Brothers masterpiece Fargo. Nobody writes dialogue like the Coens. The lines in the film are so perfectly tailored to the situations and to what the character is trying to avoid saying that a simple stutter can reveal a paragraph of intent. Add to that the phonetic spelling of the Midwestern accents and you get lines like this:


What kind of trouble are you in, Jerry?


Well, that's, that's, I'm not gonna go inta, inta - see, I just need money. Now, her dad's real wealthy -

or this...


Well, how the heck are ya?


Okay, ya know. Okay.




Yah - how are you doon?

In places, the dialogue is so specific with how different characters will pronounce different words that it almost casts itself. If I hadn't seen this and someone said William H. Macy's in it, I would know exactly who he plays. Same with Steve Buscemi. The characters remind me of the specific actors, even of their characters in other movies. Perhaps Whiz Kid Donnie Smith and Mr. Pink respectively. Of course Magnolia was after Fargo so perhaps Jerry was more of an inspiration for Donnie than the other way around.

What I considered to be the most memorable scene in the film, is just as memorable on the page. I am sure a lot of people go right for the wood chipper, but I always imagine this scene when I think of the Fargo...

We are high and wide on the office building's parking lot. Jerry emerges wrapped in a parka, his arms sticking stiffly out at his sides, his breath vaporizing. He goes to his car, opens its front door, pulls out a red plastic scraper and starts methodically scraping off the thin crust of ice that has developed on his windshield.

The scrape-scrape-scrape sound carries in the frigid air.

Jerry goes into a frenzy, banging the scraper against the windshield and the hood of his car.

The tantrum passes. Jerry stands panting, staring at nothing in particular.

Scrape-scrape-scrape - he goes back to work on the windshield.

I always loved that this scene plays high and wide because it makes it that much more embarrassing for Jerry if its his father-in-law's view of the scene. It's fun how much of the direction comes across in their scripts.

Tomorrow we discuss The Shawshank Redemption from that Frank Darabont dude.

No comments: