Character and Theme-focused Screenplay Analysis

Great Films

Fargo: A Screenplay Analysis

Posted by Jennine Lanouette on Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Fargo William H. Macy


Fargo is a great example of a theme-driven film. While there is much cat-and-mouse plot maneuvering, there is no plot payoff at the end with six people dead and a family in ruins. As for character transformation, what sympathy we may have had for Jerry Lundegaard dissipates once we see the folly of his plan. So were not all that interested in seeing if he changes or not. We then become invested in Marge Gundersons search for the killers, but she is not particularly affected by the outcome other than a resigned Whats it all for?Where we see progression in the story of Fargo is in our understanding of the world we live in. What started out sounding like a harmless caper out of a Hardy Boys novel in the end reveals a brutal picture of greed and violence. Through the films thematic progression from blind innocence to unhindered violence, we are not being shown that the world itself has changedthe violent nature is present from the beginningbut our understanding of the world becomes significantly transformed.

Ive written about this film elsewhere on this site. For a more detailed discussion on Fargos thematic elements, see High Ideals: Changing the World with Your Theme-driven Screenplay.

You can watch Fargo on the following Video On Demand websites:

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