Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Television – Fargo

I enjoyed the movie Fargo, but wasn’t necessarily excited about a TV show based on the property. However, FX has done a terrific job with most of its series so far, so I gave it a try. I really enjoyed it, much more than I thought I would. While Billy Bob Thornton is just plain weird, I think he is a massive talent. From Sling Blade to Monster’s Ball, he has built up a diverse body of work and is not afraid to take chances.

In Fargo the TV series, Thornton plays a nihilistic hitman, cool as an icy stream as he takes human lives. In town for a hit, he meets up with Martin Freeman’s character in the hospital, then for kicks, murders the bully who put him there. Thornton’s character exudes attitude and a keen sense of danger. When he is pulled over by a local cop (Colin Hanks), he intimidates the cop into letting him just drive off in a stolen car by attitude alone, without uttering a single specific threat. Martin Freeman (Sherlock, The Hobbit) is great as usual in the role of depressed, henpecked husband Lester Nygarrd, who snaps and pays back his wife for years of abuse.

Taking the Frances McDormand role is Allison Tolman, who does a wonderful job as Molly Solverson, a small town cop with maybe pretensions of something bigger. Her casting goes somewhat positively against the grain of most television, as she is a normal woman and not a supermodel. This would never fly on CBS!

While great drama, Fargo is a dark tale of murder and, well, more murder. It may not put viewers in a happy place, but TV this good is a joy to watch.

Rating: **** stars out of 5

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