Fargo was named Best Film of 1996 by the New York Film Critics Circle and was also nominated for an Academy Award as Best Motion Picture. We assume the critics were either fearful of exposing the film's odious hate message (why they would be fearful is a topic better left for another day), or were blinded by the *humor* and arty cinematic techniques. Whatever the case, Fargo is the most racist film to appear since Birth of a Nation. This time, however, the cruelly ridiculed victims are white.
Fargo begins with the statement that the movie is a "True Story." While moviegoers may believe this implies there was a real-life crime which inspired the film, the truth is Fargo is the filmmakers' twisted "True Story" of the White race in the New World. Fargo is a perverted allegory meant to portray all the *crimes* of the White race in North America.
The plot of Fargo seems fairly straight forward: the tale of a car salesman named Jerry Lundegaard who desperately needs money for a parking lot business deal. Under the thumb of his rich father-in-law--who owns the car agency and shows him no respect--Jerry hires two small-time criminals named Showalter and Grimsrud to kidnap his wife. He promises to split the $80,000 ransom with them. During the course of the kidnapping, Grimsrud kills several people. The murder/kidnapping case falls into the hands of the Brainerd, MN police chief--Marge, a pregnant white woman. Marge methodically works the evidence and eventually all the evil-doers are brought to justice.
In telling their simple tale, however, the filmmakers deny White people any psychological (save sociopathy) or emotional depth, and instead delight in portraying them in a mocking, cartoonish fashion. Whites are stupid, inarticulate boobs, barely capable of grunting anything more than an Aryan "yah." Whites are depicted as having insatiable appetites--the filmmakers include several scenes of Whites gluttonously devouring vast quantities of non-kosher foods in various buffet-style restaurants. But above all, Whites are shown to be insanely greedy. The predominant motivating force in all the main characters in the film, save one, is money. Whites scheme endlessly to make (steal) money. The filmmakers depict the White race as suffering from a megalomaniacal and criminal obsession with money (hmmn, is there another *race* which has been similarly *stereotyped?* And, uh, would the filmmakers be aware of this?). Whites will risk anything for money, including their own family members (Jerry arranges for wife to be kidnapped, wife's father haggles over daughter's ransom). Because of their greed, Whites are incapable of loyalty or honesty. Their lives are presented as a tangle of lies and betrayals (Jerry cheats his customers at the car dealership, Jerry is cheated by his father-in-law over the parking lot deal, Jerry lies about the amount of the ransom to the criminals he has hired, when one criminal discovers the true ransom amount, he in turn lies about it to his partner--while all along his partner has planned on murdering him).
According to the filmmakers, Whites are inherently unethical. Whites can only prosper by dishonest means. However, Whites have developed their own peculiar code of right and wrong. In White culture, there is a right way and a wrong way to lie, cheat and steal. The brutal violent incompetence of the kidnappers is wrong, while the elegant thievery of Jerry's father-in-law is right. Here we must pause to note that there are only two non-white characters in the film. Each has significant symbolic value. One is a Native American. He, of course, represents the exploitation of the Indian by the White man. The White man, with his mix of violence and strange ideas about land and ownership, drove the Indians into near-extinction. And after stealing North America from the Native peoples, Whites, of course, have only desecrated the landscape. According to Fargo, the crowning achievement of White culture is the parking lot.
The Native American character in Fargo is allowed a brief moment of revenge. However, his revenge only comes at the expense of a "fringe white"--one of the two kidnappers. And even among the fringe whites, the Indian scores his revenge only against the less Aryan-looking of the two. That all is hopeless for people of color in America is reinforced by the actions of Marge. Marge appears to be the one character who is not driven by greed. That is because the pregnant Marge is the symbol of the new White mother earth. She is responsible for maintaining and guarding White culture. The redskin, a parolee, is put back in his proper place by Marge when she comes to question him regarding the whereabouts of the kidnappers. At first the Indian is defiant, and he refuses to cooperate. A huge hulk of a man, he menacingly towers over the small white woman. However, a smirking Marge quickly deflates the big Indian by reminding him that there are any number of parole violations for which she can have him sent back to prison. The giant red man, facing the White power structure in the form of a woman (not unlike Chief Broom in Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckcoo's Nest), cannot even look the small white woman in the eye as she lectures him on his status under the White legal code.
Marge also emasculates the only other non-white in the film, a Japanese man. The Japanese man appears to have done everything possible to assimilate into White culture, yet Marge (in her symbolic role as protector of White culture) is so racist and intolerant, she can not even bare to have a person of color sit next to her in a restaurant booth. We later learn that the Japanese man has been driven insane by the refusals of Whites to include him in their society.
To underscore their point that this film is about White culture, the filmmakers have set Fargo in the dead of winter in North Dakota and Minnesota. Winter's white is nearly the only color used expressively. The film opens with a scene of a blinding white snowstorm. White is seen as a malevolent force, blanketing and suffocating everything. In the few scenes in which a color other than white is used expressively, the filmmakers choose red. Blood red. For example, in the film's climatic scene, one of the kidnappers, a perfect Aryan specimen, is seen stuffing a woman's body into a wood-chipper. Blood is sprayed all over the bleak white landscape. This is the White race's legacy in North America, according to the filmmakers.
In a final insult to White culture, the filmmakers wink at their own cleverness by making much *lighthearted* use of a statue of Paul Bunyan. The filmmakers, setting about to create their own myth, can't resist mocking one of White culture's myths.