The Coen Brothers’ Fargo as a Transgressive Comedy
Abstract: In Fargo Joel and Ethan Coen deliberately blur the distinction between fiction and non-fiction by manipulating their audiences into believing they have been faced with an almost documentary account of a real tragedy. However, the picture is actually a transgressive comedy ranked among the American Film Institute’s top 100 funniest American films. Vacillating between mock naturalism, horror and farce, the directors transgress not only the viewers’ conventional sensibilities but also expectations concerning the film’s setting, genre and characters. Perspicacity becomes one of Fargo’s leading themes as soon as the viewer realises the direct link between the directors’ deceptions and the main character’s incessant lies and understands the necessity to approach the picture with extremely acute perception. By mirroring their protagonist’s prevarications and manipulations the Coens add another dimension to their narrative tasking their audiences with scrutinising what has been presented and uncovering the filmmakers’ grotesque sense of humour concealed beneath the grim surface.
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