‘Fargo’ show keeps Coen fans pleased

By Josh Alfrey

The policework that started in the movie “Fargo” is about to get a whole lot more complicated with FX’s original series, premiering at 9 p.m. today.

“Fargo” is based off the Coen brothers’ 1996 film. This show’s executive producers, Ethan and Joel Coen, are arguably two of the greatest auteurs directing films today, but it will be Noah Hawley running the intellectual property started by the Coens so long ago.

While the brothers have a diverse array of filmography on their resumes, there are many common threads running through them. The greatest mystery at the start of this series is if Hawley will capture the soul of a Coen brothers’ classic.

As the show begins Hawley will have to quickly demonstrate his idea of Coenesque cinematography and camera work. The Coens use every part of filmmaking in their storytelling, and Hawley will have to prove he can do the same if he plans to hold on to diehard Coen brothers’ fans.

Coen scenes are photography-focused, as the brothers seem to want a snapshot of the film to look like a well-composed photograph. Providing “portrait parts” of the series would show the true cinema workings people have grown so accustomed to in Coen originals. Fans of the “Fargo” film will find it hard to forget the shot of a bystander lying facedown in the snow in his red jacket after being shot in the back. These are the kind of moments I will be dying to see as the show kicks off.

You bet the writers will be hardpressed to come anywhere close to the script created by the two-time Best Screenplay Academy Award-winning brothers. The Coens’ writing always had a breath of clever simplicity that captures the ideals of the common man when thrown into a ridiculous scene. The absurdities become shining satire in a dark comedy that brings a joke with every bullet.

Simple philosophers like The Dude from “The Big Lebowski” and Barton Fink of “Barton Fink” would be wondrous in “Fargo.” Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton have the performing prowess to fill such roles, but will they have the material?

I would by no means be opposed to a Coen classic MacGuffin — often represented by a bag of money in films like “No Country for Old Men” and the original “Fargo” — as a part of the show.

Seeing the showrunners making the series a 10-part anthology tells me they do have a deeper understanding of the Coen Brothers’ films. Ending something is just as important as starting, and being assured a conclusion to Coenesque suspense is comforting.