Fargo Opening Analysis UPDATED

The opening title sequence of the Coen brothers’ Fargo opts for simplicity, having a mostly white screen for most of the sequence, this screen is slowly revealed to be fog/mist, reflecting the reveal to a possible mystery that may feature in this film. This white challenges thriller conventions as normally black would be a colour of choice to display dread and isolation, however here the white achieves the same thing, and gives the film its own, individual aesthetic. Furthermore, since this obscures the audience’s view of events, it instantly puts the audience in a position where they are searching for an answer too an enigma, as they are presented with something that is not what  it appears on the surface, thus developing the thriller narrative tread of an enigma.

TryeFargAs the film opens a disclaimer is shown stating that the film is a true story, and mentions ‘survivors’ and ‘the dead,’ this has been used to make the audience prepare for possible horrific events, as well as setting a sense of mystery in the viewer’s head, as they try to remember such a tragedy (they can’t because it didn’t actually happen). This, also, helps to instantly engage the audience as they would have to read this quickly. Furthermore, the audience is made to engage by the fade between this black screen and the white of the main title sequence, as the quick shift is a slight shock to the system. Usually, thrillers choose to use dark motifs, which this initial black screen mirrors, implying that the film would follow convention, however this white that comes out of the black displays how this film is prepared to break convention.

The music track has a fairytale type sound, giving the opening a mythological feel, establishing the importance of the film, as this music feels like something from a legend, as well as giving the audience an uneasy feeling, due to this music juxtaposing the dark declaimer with the fun that children often have with myths and legend. This uneasy feeling is further created by the fonts used, some words are extremely spaced out, while others are much more closely spaced, this furthers the uneasy feeling as it is strange to change font style part way through a credit.

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2 thoughts on “Fargo Opening Analysis UPDATED

    • Great start, Ed, and superb choice of opening sequence. The Coen Brothers claim this story is based on true events. What effect do you think this has on the audience? Is this typical of a Coen Brothers piece?

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