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Fargo Film



The following paper deals with the identification, analysis, and discussion of the narrative design of the film Fargo. The course of analysis examines the narrative structure and presents relevant and vivid examples in order to support the proclaimed stance. Moreover, the analysis also explains the extent to which the themes of the film are communicated by means of the narrative design.

Analysis and Discussion

The film Fargo was shot in 1996. The storyline of the film is based on true facts. The events of the real story happened nine years ago in 1987. It has been underlined during the first seconds of the film that the names had been changed, but the accuracy and the sequence of the events which subsequently led to the tragedy have been preserved completely. The film Fargo was directed by the Coens (Joel and Ethan). Moreover, they are also authentic writers of the film story.

Talking about the phenomenon of narrative design, it is a structural framework of the presented material that covers the manner, order and peculiar symbolism (if any) in the work. The structural elements of the phenomenon are the plot and the setting. Apparently, Fargo presents a specific approach to both structural elements of the narrative design phenomenon.

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One of the most significant and crucial aspects of the phenomenon of narrative design in terms of the plot is considered to be the pattern of the film. Actually, the general analysis may conclude that the story has been filmed in accordance to the linear pattern as far as the events develop in accordance with the principle of determinism and never overlap or interfere within the time framework. The events follow each other properly and chronologically. Hence, the audience receives a detailed picture of the narrative. However, it becomes clear that the structure of the film is definitely a non-linear one after closer and more in-depth inspection as far as every step and action of the characters leads to unexpected and further predetermining events in the plot. Every character makes their choice and in such a way predetermines and/or alters the direction of the plot of the story.

It is significant that the film begins with several lines of written words which specify the significance and even uniqueness of the story. The white letters and the black background properly and symbolically align with the mundane landscape presented in the film, namely white snow, and dark sullen sky. Moreover, a significant aspect of the whole narrative is vividly presented as far as the audience becomes informed that only facts are presented without any fictional plot lines.

Actually, the storylines which have been presented in the film are parallel and interrelated. Hereby, such sequence helps form the whole narrative, and at the same time, it distinguishes between several stories which have happened to influence one another. As a consequence, the audience observes independent (at first sight only) stories which revolve around one key issue, namely the abduction of the main character’s wife according to his personal order. Apparently, such an event has been motivated by the tremendous desire of the main character to become rich as far as he has always been subdued and humiliated by his father-in-law. Moreover, such strongly influential and significant factors as the huge amount of debt at his job and denial to invest in his high potential project increased Jerry’s determination to organize the kidnapping of his wife. The process of arrangements of the course of abduction is pictured in a detailed and comprehensive way. The audience knows the scheme as well as all the threats and potential ramifications. However, the initial plan failed when the storyline involved unexpected characters, namely a policeman and random passers-by. The lethal ramifications of this meeting have been followed by the appearance of one more key character Marge, an inspector from local police. Hence, the major storyline is multidimensional and pictured by means of several perspectives.

Moreover, it is also relevant to analyze and discuss such important aspects of the narrative as conversations, characters, role of contrasts and details in the storyline. Apparently, the conversations include primarily only subject-oriented phrases and comments. There are no lyric topics for conversation as well as abstract themes and small talk. The characters communicate only the most essential and relevant things. The repetition of the phrases or words is used with the purpose of underlining the significance of the topic or aspect. Moreover, the conversations are very short and episodic. Consequently, it forms the overall atmosphere of the film that embodies tension, anxiety and alarm. The same purpose is actually served by means of sullen and threatening to certain extent landscapes of the region. The silence and prolonged pauses increase such effect.

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Furthermore, the characters are very authentic. Their depiction also contributes to the general narrative design significance. Every character is a relevant representative of their social layer and/or professional one. For instance, Marge represents a devoted and highly professional policewoman. She is determined, smart and hard-working woman who does not refuse to perform her professional duties and responsibilities even being pregnant. She is ready to get up in the night in order to perform her professional duty. One more vivid example is presented by the character of Jerry. He is a classic example of a man who has been subdued by more powerful and strong personality as well as tremendous wealth of his father-in-law. The mimics, particular uttered words and reaction upon unexpected or negative events (for instance, the fact of denial of the investment in Jerry’s project, alleged reaction upon his wife’s abduction, professional performance, among others) present a significant background for objective depiction of the character’s personality which predetermines relevant comprehension of the narrative.

The role of contrasts and details is also significant in terms of the narrative design analysis. The symbolism and contrasts are presented even in such a terrifying story in order to underline the key theme of the film. For instance, the contrast of a new life to be born and the sequence of deaths on the road is one of the most striking ones within the currently discussed film narrative (pregnant Marge investigating tree deaths on the road). One more vivid example of contrast incorporation in the film Fargo is the pair ‘money and life of a human being’. The contrast is actualized in the storyline by means of Jerry’s father-in-law. He is reluctant to be deprived of huge sum of money even in the situation when his daughter’s life is on the stake.


Thus, the narrative design of the film Fargo is multidimensional and constructive. The details and contrasts supplement the narrative by means of revelation of its key aspects and peculiar features. The narrative structure communicates the theme of the film effectively and appropriately.