Set in the midst of the bleak midwinter snow drifts of the American Midwest, "Fargo" is a story of murder and mayhem.
Jerry Lundegaard plots the kidnapping of his wife to rescue his precarious financial situation, but events career out of control when one of the small-time criminals he has hired to do the job goes haywire.
In a senseless universe, it falls to Marge Gunderson, chief of the Brainerd Police Department, to set things straight.
Like the Coen brothers' auspicious debut feature "Blood Simple", "Fargo" concerns itself with dirty deeds done for money, but the grimness of the tale is alleviated by the laconic humour with which the characters greet their fates.
The intricacy of the plotting is executed with brilliance, yet the writing also reveals humanity at its core. "Fargo" was honoured with the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay of 1996.