There are weak men (William H. Macy as a car salesman in hock), mean men (Macy’s boss and father-in-law) and evil men (Peter Stormare and Steve Buscemi as the thugs Macy hires to kidnap his wife so he can split the ransom his father-in-law will pay). There’s also one good, smart woman: Marge, the pregnant Minnesota cop played by Frances McDormand in an Oscar-winning performance.
Marge might get queasy watching Stormare grind Buscemi’s body in the wood-chipper, geysers of blood action-painting the snow as the victim’s white-socked foot sticks out of the machine (87-minute mark). But, almost uniquely in the Coen constellation, she’s ultimately a winner, who is, moreover, happy to wrap herself in her husband’s stolid devotion. Fargo is a favorite of critics and audiences, though for one or two holdouts the film has more attitude (mostly derisive) than cinematic or character aptitude.