MGM has re-released “FARGO” as a special edition, and while there’s not a
whole lot new here, the image is improved enough over the two previous releases,
to recommend this. While Frances McDormand has been rightly praised for
her role as the pregnant, small-town police chief trying to make sense of
senseless murders, the entire cast is outstanding. It’s hard to recall a
better performance from William H. Macy than the one he gives here.
A scene where we find him practicing a phony performance for a phone call he’s about to make is unforgettable. Steve Buscemi as one of the hired kidnappers has never used his quirky looks and mannerisms better than he does here.
The Coen Brothers have always displayed a craft in creating stunning,
lyrical images, and there’s no shortage of them here. One particular scene
involving a chase on a flat, isolated snowy road is as powerful a chase scene as
any in recent history, only this one involves two cars alone, and no fish carts
The film’s opening image, wherein Jerry Lundegaard’s vehicle first appears out of the snow is also visually unforgettable, and we mean “unforgettable” in “Lawrence of Arabia” terms! Adding to its impact is yet another outstanding score from this generation’s John Williams, “Carter Burwell”! Unfortunately, even with this being the third presentation, the soundmix still doesn’t compliment the score as well as it should!
MGM has preserved the film’s 1.85:1 image, with 16:9 enhancement. The image here is sharper than before. Taking place in snow covered locations, there’s a lot of white and brightness. And, thankfully, there’s significantly less grain and pixelization now. While the locations, by definition, lack vibrant colors, they’re more natural here, and the overall picture appears well polished. Fleshtones appear natural.
MGM has given this release a brand new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. When compared to the previous releases, dialogue(which wasn’t a problem in previous versions)is even sharper here. However, the surrounds are still more restrained than we recall in its theatrical release. There is some minor separation, but it’s almost completely delegated to the front stage.
The mix is well balanced in terms of the front end mix, but it’s disappointing that there’s a lack of an engulfing experience. The Burwell score would be so much more effective if projected through all speakers at appropriate times.
Unfortunately, The Coen Brothers didn’t provide a commentary for this
release! It’s even more disappointing when considering they’ve done one
for their last film, which wasn’t as successful or as acclaimed.
Cinematographer Roger Deakins provides a running commentary. It’s not too exciting, however, it has its moments, as in the case of the incredible opening sequence mentioned above, where the commentary explains someone else actually shot it! There are more moments like this, but too far and few between.
Other supplements include, a short documentary, offering a fair share of insight into the film and its casting. An interview with Charlie Rose featuring Joel and Ethan Coen and Frances McDormand is also included, and as usual with Charlie Rose’s show, it’s great!
A photo gallery with plenty of stills from the set, as well as a
trailer and tv spot are also offered.
While we can’t help but be a bit disappointed that the soundmix is still
not up to the level of excellence that the film deserves, this is still the best
of the three releases for the film so far, and we recommend it!