The Self Destruction of Jerry Lundegaard

On of my favorite movies is the 1996 Coen Bros. classic, “Fargo”. I was looking for a movie to watch this evening and smiled when my eyes scanned the spine of the DVD case.

There are a lot of things I like about this movie. The erratic speech pattern of Steve Buscemi. The slow but effective method of police work by Frances McDormand. The inherent meanness of the father-in-law. The subtle nuance of the score by Carter Burwell. Out of this entire masterpiece of a movie, I’d have to pin the atypical glee on the performance of William H Macy.

Macy’s character is in deep…with someone, but we’re never allowed to see into that part of Jerry’s life. It’s referenced several times in that he needs a large sum of money but that’s as far as we know. He has several plans going to get the funds he needs, but they are all poorly executed and fall apart during the course of the film. He took out a huge loan on cars that don’t exist…and GMAC calls to check up, knowing that something isn’t right. He is trying to work a real estate deal, which his father-in-law takes from him. And, of course, he has his wife kidnapped, which goes extremely awry.

Macy plays uncomfortable so well. I love watching his argument with Margie (I’m cooperating here!) and seeing how many red flags I can find. Listening to him prepare to tell his father-in-law about the abduction (Aw, geez, it’s Jean…) Trying to communicate with Steve Buscemi (the heck d’ya mean?) It’s all wonderful to watch.

That, and he keeps on going forward. He does not give up or falter in his path even as the world crashes around him. Of course, this is to his ultimate humiliating demise, but whatev.

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