Friday, October 27, 2017

'Fargo' by Noah Hawley

27 October 2017

I’ve just finished watching the third season of ‘Fargo’, Noah Hawley’s superlative TV series inspired by the 1996 Coen Brothers film. [Excessive hyperbole warning: readers who feel that my reviews are too often overly enthusiastic may want to look away now.] I love ‘Fargo’: it’s a televisual work of art – gripping, funny, bleak, beautiful, clever and playful. The male characters tend to be weak and foolish while the women are intelligent and strong. In this third series Ewan McGregor is great as both of the warring brothers at the centre of the story and David Thewlis is an incredibly creepy villain, but the female leads – Carrie Coon as Police Chief Gloria Burgle and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as ex-convict and semi-professional bridge player Nikki Swango – are truly magnificent. I appreciate that ‘Fargo’ may not be to everyone’s taste: the plot is deliberately confusing, with occasional surreal digressions and some brutal violence. But it is a beautifully constructed show, visually stunning and with a wonderful use of music. Season 3 has a running musical theme of New Orleans brass bands, featuring tracks by Minor Mishap Marching Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Youngblood Brass Band and Galactic. But then, for no particular reason, one episode uses Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’, musically labelling each of the main characters as Peter, the bird, the cat, the wolf etc. ‘Fargo’ is a very black comedy drama – excruciating, surprising, hilarious, thrilling and terribly satisfying.

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