A gripping crime-drama with a compelling case that evolves over a short season run, adding excellent character acting, and locations that pull you into the story.
When a killer-for-hire passes through a small town bodies begin to pile up and while most in the small police force do not see a connection between the crimes, a single detective begins to suspect they are, and that it may all be connected to a known man in town.
The first season of “Fargo” turned out to be a pleasantly intriguing one. In a short ten-episode run the season was able to weave a darkly comedic crime-drama, with great amounts of mystery. Throughout there were many tense moments that were well built, many intriguing moments of mystery and along the entire season was a tone of witty humor that always seemed to be placed perfectly.
Billy Bob Thornton was the driving force behind the enjoyment of the show despite Martin Freeman also bringing a marvelous performance in his role. Thornton however, was the true star and seemed about as perfectly cast for a role as you can see. He was excellent in virtually every scene he was in and he worked effortlessly with the rest of the cast in regards to chemistry. Thornton as Malvo was viscous, extremely deadly, highly callous and he conveyed it with a constant charm. His performance was a classic example of great character acting and with his subtle mannerisms and gestures as well as some extremely well written dialogue he brought “Fargo” a fantastic character.
Martin Freeman was equally as excellent as a much different, but still extremely quirky character Lester Nygaard. His character made a full crossing of the personality spectrum and Freeman delivered the range of emotions in between with convincing ease. He pulled off the feeling of incompetence in one scene then a strategically cunning tone in others and it resulted in a character that draws you in. His chemistry with Thornton was incredible and together they two formed a compelling onscreen duo as their oddly unique (friendship) evolved over the course of the season.
Allison Tomlin was also very enjoyable in this one. She was great as the determined cop and her relentlessly subtle pursuit of the truth created a character you can connect with as well bringing some laughable moments built simply off of her persistence. Colin Hanks was solid as well with a decent performance. To me he was the least developed character written into the screenplay but Hanks was able to make the most out of the material with a charming performance.
Without question (to me) the strongest side-character in this story was that of Officer Bill Oswalt played by Bob Odenkirk. As the cop in over his head, and not wanting to admit to the events swarming the usually quiet town, he was entertaining with many comedic moments. His dialogue was cleverly written and Odenkirk’s delivery only made the most of it. He was the softest character in the story-line and yet with his dumb-founded personality and naive outlook on the world around him he managed to bring a dark themed crime-drama a heart warming character that can simply make you smile.
The script was excellent and weaves a detailed plot that unravels at a smooth pace along the shows. With each episode you can feel an advancement in the story, more information on the mystery of the outcome, and a little more of the characters personalities being revealed. Each ending to a show makes you want more and that aspect, with the addition of fantastic cast performances are what make or break a show, and in this one, they make it close to perfect.
Each of the episodes were also beautifully shot. The camerawork is excellent and pull the most out the bleak settings to capture a perfect mood for the story-line. The lighting, capturing of the settings, camera angles and seamless editing give the show the feel of a well polished, big-budget film with sleek cinematography. I also really enjoyed the soundtrack to this season and it felt well tailored to the content.
“Fargo” turned out to be an interesting, and highly compelling crime-drama with all the mystery and unpredictability you can ask for. If you like strong character acting then you will love this show, if you prefer a well detailed story with many twists and turns that never loses focus then you will love this show as well. There was great detail taken into many aspects of this shows creation and the result clearly shows.
Overall this was just a really fun show to watch and with each episode I had no idea where the story would go and it was great for building interest. The story-never wastes your time and builds both the characters and the plot with a nice flow in the end make this a well-crafted highly entertaining first, of hopefully many excellent seasons.