Year: 1996
Director: Joel Coen
Producer: Ethan Coen
Writer: Joel Coen/Ethan Coen
Cast: Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, William H Macy

Despite the critical acclaim I've always found this a plodding, middle of the road offering from the Coens, neither their funniest nor strangest. There was some comedy - none of it was side splitting - and it seemed to tell a strange and small little story that when all's said and done had no point. A guy wants to arrange to have his wife kidnapped so he can split the ransom money with the kidnappers to get himself out of financial trouble.

Mixed up in this are sleazy and insect-like crim (Buscemi), his quiet, psychotic partner, the hapless dweeb trying to pull it off (Macy), and the clever but ineffectual cop trying to work it out (McDormand). Things spiral into an ever increasing cycle of violence and bloodshed, culminating in a million dollars being lost forever and not much else. As usual, some weird characterisations and good acting, but far from the Coens' finest effort. I don't know why it's regarded by so many as an unequalled classic.

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