Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1996. Polygram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title Films. Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen. Cinematography by Roger Deakins. Produced by Ethan Coen. Music by Carter Burwell. Production Design by Rick Heinrichs. Costume Design by Mary Zophres. Film Editing by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen.
The Coen Brothers achieve perfection for the first time in their career with this incredible classic that combines crime drama and comedy. Two low lives (Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare) on the run kill a cop in Minnesota and leave a trail covered in blood in their wake. The officer who pursues them is a heavily pregnant, cheerful Brainerd cop (Frances McDormand) who has as much time to solve murders as she does to eat a hearty meal or buck up her husband’s artistic courage. Meanwhile, a weaselly car salesman (William H. Macy) gets himself mixed up in quite the mess in an effort to improve his own personal business goals. The film’s hilarious qualities (particularly the accents and the never ending masses of snow) never get in the way of the gritty violence, nor do they numb the viewer to how high the stakes are for all the characters involved–the story has no holes in it and works to a magnificent conclusion. Exceptional work by all involved, especially a brilliantly funny McDormand, whose timing and command on the screen are awesome to behold, and the deeply penetrating cinematography by Roger Deakins.
Academy Awards: Best Actress (Frances McDormand); Best Original Screenplay
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Supporting Actor (William H. Macy); Best Director (Joel Coen); Best Cinematography; Best Film Editing
Cannes Film Festival Award: Best Director (Joel Coen)
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Frances McDormand); Best Director (Joel Coen); Best Screenplay
Screen Actors Guild Award: Best Actress (Frances McDormand)
Nomination: Best Supporting Actor (William H. Macy)