Study Guide

Fargo Crime and Criminality

Crime and Criminality

The movie centers around a crime: Jerry ordering the kidnapping of his wife in order to swindle his father-in-law out of the ransom money. But it doesn't depict crime in a conventional way. The criminals aren't smooth, cool dudes. In fact, they're not very bright. Jerry might be a little more normal than Carl and Gaear, but, overall, he just seems desperate and clueless. They all share the qualities sociopaths—total disregard for others, impulsivity, poor judgment, inability to learn from experience lack of remorse. Does this describe our bad guys? You betcha.

There's no glamour to the criminal underworld in Fargo. It's just ridiculous and pathetic.

Questions About Crime and Criminality

  1. How does the way Fargo depicts crime differ from other crime films you've seen?
  2. What causes people to become criminals in the movie? What are the differences (and similarities) between Jerry's motives and the motives of Carl and Gaear?
  3. Do you think that the way crime happens in Fargo is true to life?
  4. Do you think the Coens believe there's such a thing as a criminal personality?

Chew on This

Ultimately, no one in the film gets away with his crime. There's justice in the world, yah.

There aren't many in-between characters in this movie. They're either monstrously bad or real good, then.

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