January 2016 - Fargo
Some more totally uncontentious comments suitable for a blog in the modern era
After several people commented on the TV series Fargo, I dug out season one.
I watched the first four or five episodes and then decided I really ought to watch the actual film.
I know that the Coen brothers executive produce the series, but the whole thing is pretty much in keeping with the film, like a well built extenstion on a listed building.
If anything the series is much more menacing and slow paced than the movie. The comedy is far blacker.
Things I noticed straight away. Obviously the titles ("this is a true story" etc.) are the same, the type face even.
And the obvious crossover with the bag full of money that's burried in the snow (if you haven't seen the film you won't know where that came from).
The near silent hit man in the film is replaced with a totally silent one in the series. And I think his signing adds a lot of lovely dark comedy to the series. Apparently the actor (Russell Harvard) is actually deaf *fast show* which is nice *fast show*. It's not the signing itself that provides comedy, but rather the interpretation of the signing by Mr Numbers.
Clearly there's a massive drawing on characterisation too. The Solverson/Gunderson thing is lovely. In the movie Gunderson (Frances McDormand) is an affable dim seeming (in a Columbo way) woman with some quirky but endearing traits.
Solverson (Allison Tolman) shares Gunderson's general demeanor and language quirks but her intelligence and humanity is much more evident. A lot of Gunderson's lines from the movie are re-used but given to Solverson's Chief, Vern (Shawn Doyle), 'I've got to congratulate you on your police work there' etc.
Being British I found Martin Freeman's casting in Fargo to be a little jarring. We're used to him in much more comedic roles.
But I can see why he was cast, and by about episode 9, I'd got used to it :)
Being a fan of both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, I found Bob Odenkirk's portrayal of the bumbling police chief (Bill Oswalt) satisfying.
Billy Bob Thornton's Malvo is great. Malevolant, occasionally unsettling. Malvo doesn't scare you silly in the way that say Tuco from Breaking Bad does, but in a way that makes Malvo all the more scary.
If it's absolutely obvious that someone is a dead eyed killer, then victims have a small chance of avoidance. But with Malvo, you essentially never see it coming.
Taken as a whole, the Fargo franchise makes me want to live in Minnisota.
Obviously Star Wars (The Force Awakens) came out in December.
We're spoilt as a viewing audience I think when the only comments I can make about a multi-million pound space epic is, it's pretty but to essentially reset the original starwars plot is just... lame.
I didn't go to see it at the cinema. Probably the first Bond film in my adult life that I haven't seen at the cinema. Not sure what this means, but I think it means that the Bond franchise is teetering.
I don't think anything is going to beat Daniel Craig's Casino Royale now though.
I haven't done much except follow this for the last few months. At times I thought we were moments away from world war.