Warning: If the Minnesota accent annoys you, do not watch this movie. Also, if you object to lots of particularly colorful language and blood splattering everywhere, you might want to look elsewhere for entertainment. The story itself is unfortunately believable, as it explores the dreadful things people will do for the sake of money or when they are pushed beyond the limits of their endurance. It’s a sad, but accurate commentary on humanity and the scene with the wood chipper will no doubt make frequent appearances in my nightmares. I’ve often wondered if being a cop necessarily gives a person a certain cynicism, but the character of the sheriff was quite refreshing. She just kept at it, unraveling things bit by bit and following the evidence wherever it led.
I must admit, I was hooked with the dramatic opener, which read ‘This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.’ However, I have since found out this is a flat out lie and felt annoyed at the filmmakers for being so deliberately dishonest and frankly disrespectful to other films that really are based on real events. Was it a good story? Yes, it was full of dark humor, lots of unexpected twists and turns and the characterizations were fascinating. I really never knew what was going to happen next, but in the end I felt vaguely unsatisfied, as though something was missing. Perhaps the reason for that is that reality doesn’t usually tie up every loose end in a neat bow with explanations for everything. The movie instead winds up being thought provoking and stays with you longer than if the ending had been more pat. I’m glad I watched it, as it allowed me to better appreciate the new TV show of the same name (which is excellent!), although I’m still grateful I do not live in Minnesota. – BETHANY
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Well, doesn’t this look inviting.
Police Chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand). Is that hair something else? You Betcha!
This is not a happy man! Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy).
Mrs. Lundegaard (Kristin Rudrüd), contributor to why Jerry is not happy.
Marge and Norm Gunderson (John Carroll Lynch) having breakfast.
“Say, Lou, didya hear the one about the guy who couldn’t afford personalized plates, so he went and changed his name to J3L2404?” “Yah, that’s a good one.”
Minnesotans seem oddly proud of their connection to this movie, going so far as to memorialize the actual wood chipper used in the film in a museum. And yes, that is a leg sticking out of the hopper. Am I sorry I saw this particular scene in the movie? You’re darn tootin’! (Image found at mnprairieroots.com)
Photos courtesy of PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title Films and MGM (unless otherwise noted)