‘Fargo’ Review: How Good Manners Cause Major Trouble In Every Season of Noah Hawley’s Minnesota Mystery

[Editor’s Note: The review below contains spoilers for “Fargo” Season 3, Episode 2, “The Principle of Restricted Choice.”]

Immediate Reaction

Let’s look at that title: “The Principle of Restricted Choice” refers to what happens in the game of bridge every time a card is played. When you play a particular card, that act decreases the probability you hold anything equivalent to it. In other words, your first card is likely your best, and the odds of improving after you make your first move are less and less as the game continues.

That’s bad news for our card players, Ray Stussey (Ewan McGregor) and Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). While the title could refer back to their original plan of stealing the stamp, its lesson in Episode 2 applies to what Nikki did when Plan A didn’t go so well. When she couldn’t find the stamp, she took the donkey photo as a “fuck you” to Ray and gave a decidedly more emphatic message back. That was the final straw for Emmit (McGregor), as he cut Ray out of his life entirely, leaving his brother and his fiance on their own.

But we’ve seen this kind of internal family conflict before. Season 2 had it in droves, between the Gerhardt mob and the Blumquist butcher and butcher’s wife. It never ends well, and the only hope any of these characters have has been the good-hearted police officers. So even though Ray’s fear of the police has thrown off his chi, the sooner these two get involved with former chief Gloria Burgle, the better it will be for everyone.

Not only is it her job to save lives, Gloria isn’t afraid to be disrespectful if someone earns that disrespect. Unlike her fellow Minnesotans, she’s not going to be pushed around. She proved as much with the new chief, and it’s a trait that will serve her well when facing bad men in the coming weeks. I won’t pretend to know how her attitude will shake out in Ray, Nikki, and Emmit’s favors, but Episode 2 made it perfectly clear that everyone other than Gloria and V.M. Varga (David Thewlis) have misplayed their first card.

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: ‘Fargo’: Why the Season 3 Premiere Feels Familiar, But Foretells Big Changes

MVP (Most Valuable Performer)

FARGO Year 3 Goran Bogdan as Yuri Gurka, David Thewlis as V.M. Vargas, Andy Yu as Meemo. CR: Chris Large/FX

It’s one thing to talk a big game, it’s quite another to walk it — especially as an actor. Writers handle a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to the impact of a line, but so much of David Thewlis’ turn as V.M. Varga comes from his recitation of carefully chosen words as well as how he embodies an understanding of them. His performance is a beautiful combination of melodic dialogue paired with an unsettling visage. Specifically, Varga’s chipped teeth menacingly contradict the intelligent words spat between them, but never would anyone dare point out any superficial ugliness when the depth of wisdom on display is so intimidating.

Varga is a man with much power — that is clear from what’s happened so far, including how he’s weaseled his way into the Stussey corporation and when his henchmen threw attorney Ira Blumkin off a parking garage. But it’s Thewlis’ inflections, dismissals, confidence, and curiosity that build an aura of fear around the mysterious man: With the toss of a glance or a loss of interest, Varga has moved on from a conversation his partner is just now coming to understand. Suddenly, it’s too late to make a difference in wherever the exchange could have gone, be it a semi-truck being parked in a lot or boxes being moved into an office. Thewlis conveys a distinct feeling from the unpredictable combinations of his character, and it’s that feeling that lasts long after the talking has stopped.

READ MORE: ‘Fargo’ Review: Season 3 Remains a Masterful Midwestern Drama, But You’ll See It in a Terrifying New Light

Aces Quotes for Everyday Use

<img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-1201809517″ src=”http://www.indiewire.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/fargo_302_03.jpg” alt=”FARGO “The Principle of Restricted Choice” – Year 3, Episode 2 (Airs April 26, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured (l-r): Ewan McGregor as Ray Stussy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Nikki Swango. CR: FX” width=”780″ height=”390″ />

“Your brother’s a loser.”
“He’s not a loser.”
“Well, he’s doing a pretty good imitation.”
– Sy Feltz (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Emmit Stussey (Ewan McGregor), to be used whenever you want to politely reemphasize your original point

– V.M. Varga (David Thewlis), to be used whenever you want to sound smarter than thou.

“There’s something wrong with your chi.”
– Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), to be used whenever someone is acting funny.

“There’s a problem.”
“Is it you?”
– Sy Feltz and Ray Stussey (Ewan McGregor), to be used at the office when a co-worker tries to get you to help out with their problem.

READ MORE: ‘Fargo’ Year 3: Why Star Ewan McGregor Refused to Watch the Show Until Now, and Other Set Visit Reveals

An Important Quote to Think On, Ya Know?

FARGO “The Principle of Restricted Choice” – Year 3, Episode 2 (Airs April 26, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured (l-r): Ewan McGregor as Emmit Stussy. CR: Chris Large/FX

“Now you’re seeing it: the inescapable reality. You’re trapped.”
– V.M. Varga (David Thewlis)

The driving conflict of “Fargo” often boils down to forceful determination and unflinching manners. Even in crisis, the good people of Minnesota don’t want to disrespect, assume, or offend their assertive oppressors, and it often causes them to bend — or break — rather than risk being impolite. It’s enough to drive the more pushy among us mad, as we sit back and watch good people get taken advantage of, again and again.

This recurring theme was best exemplified at the end of Episode 2 when V.M. Varga walked into Emmit Stussey’s office with a bunch of boxes and a claim to office space. Now, Varga’s speech to Emmit and Sy felt like one he’s given enough times to already know the ending, but he still took pleasure in seeing their reaction to it. Similar to when he drove his car and the truck we “surmise” is also his onto a parking lot earlier in the episode, Varga is walking through life like he knows the ending.

It’s not unlike Billy Bob Thornton’s Lorne Malvo from Season 1 or Bokeem Woodbine’s Mike Milligan in Season 2, except rather than be confidently dumbfounded by the locals’ futility (Malvo) or loquaciously playful (Milligan), Varga is like a sadistic steamroller. He might pause to admire whatever he’s running over, but nothing is going to stop him. He brings the inescapable reality with him, and doesn’t care whether he’s been invited in or not.

That’s going to be a problem for Emmit, and one we’ve seen Sy isn’t too adept at handling. His Hummer slip-sliding through the diner parking lot, clipping a stranger’s car on the way out, showed he’s not an “errand boy” on the same level as Varga. The Minnesotans are trapped, and good manners can’t save them. Well, their good manners can’t save them. Gloria Burgle’s not willing to let niceties get in her way.

Grade: B+

“Fargo” Season 3 airs new episodes every Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FX. 

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27 April 2017 | 3:00 am

Ben Travers

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Barry Jenkins Remembers Jonathan Demme: ‘The Kindest, Most Generous Soul’

I first met Jonathan at the Toronto Film Festival. I was on stage midway through a Q&A moderated by Cameron Bailey when we noticed a slender gentleman on the aisle, waving frantically. I remember the question revolving around sound — the sound design, soundtrack, the score. What I said in response I’m less sure of because, some words into my answer, Cameron blurted: “Wait… is that Jonathan Demme?”

It was indeed. Afterward, Jonathan found me in the lobby. We hugged and, immediately, it felt as though I’d known him for decades. As I got to spend more time with him throughout the fall, I realized that was simply Jonathan Demme — always open, forever giving. A hug was not simply a hug, it was a coming together, a binding.

I tried calling him Mr. Demme, and he demurred something crazy. Every time, I would start anew with Mr. Demme and, every time, his head would rock back and away, the toothiest grin: “Noooo… Jonathan.” How can a man with this body of work remain so gracious and kind, embarrassed by the reverence showed him?

As promised, Jonathan hosted a screening of “Moonlight” at the Jacobs Burns Center, in Pleasantville, NY. This was his home turf. The pride with which he presented Tarell, the film, and myself to that audience — when a mentor looks at you that way, it’s beyond moving. 

The last time I saw Jonathan felt, like all things with Jonathan, so open, a wave running to and from shore; serenity. Finality is a concept that accrues over the duration of things. Jonathan and I had so much more friendship to chart. Had I any idea this would be the last time I would see him…

We sat together at the New York Film Critics Circle ceremony. He had a glorious shiner around one eye. Trey Shults walked by and Jonathan grabbed him — literally took hold of his shirt — and expressed the kinds of things we always dream the people we admire will someday feel about our work. Moments later, in the quiet as he reviewed his very kind notes about me, I gestured at that shiner. 

“Oh, this thing?” 

Jonathan DemmeNew York Film Critics Circle Awards, USA - 03 Jan 2017

Jonathan Demme at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards


He’d  been playing a game, having fun. I forget which, something physical, maybe soccer, basketball — it escapes me because, ever Jonathan Demme, he stopped himself midway, that head rocking back and away, that smile

I don’t remember Jonathan’s speech that night. I can look that up; there’s tape, there’s a transcript. I’m sure I will someday. What I remember, what I can’t stop thinking about in this moment and will always remember, is that in the midst of me inquiring about his purple onion of an eye, Jonathan Demme said, “But how are you, Barry?” 

His smile grew, eclipsed everything. “Barry, I am just so happy to be here for YOU.” 

He was the kindest, most generous soul. 

26 April 2017 | 9:49 pm

Eric Kohn

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‘Silence of the Lambs’ director Jonathan Demme dies at 73

Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme has died at the age of 73. The filmmaker’s movies included Something Wild, Married to the Mob, Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married, and The Silence of the Lambs, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director.

The filmmaker died Wednesday morning as a result of esophageal cancer and complications from heart disease, according to IndieWire, which first reported Demme’s death.

Demme got his break working for famed producer Roger Corman, for whom he directed a clutch of exploitation movies, including 1974’s women-in-prison film Caged Heat and the following year’s Cloris Leachman-starring action-comedy Crazy Mama. The filmmaker garnered acclaim for his 1980 comedy-drama Melvin and Howard, about a chance encounter between Howard Hughes and a service station owner, for which Mary Steenburgen won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Over the next decade, Demme became one of the most admired directors in the country with films like the black comedies Something Wild and Married to the Mob, before scoring a massive commercial and critical success with the serial killer thriller Silence of the Lambs, which won Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Adapted Screenplay at the 1992 Academy Awards.

Demme’s subsequent films included Philadelphia, for which Tom Hanks won the Best Actor Oscar as a lawyer with AIDS, and a remake of The Manchurian Candidate. Demme was also a prolific documentary-maker who directed the 1984 Talking Heads in concert film Stop Making Sense.

26 April 2017 | 3:23 pm

Clark Collis

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Kingsman The Golden Circle 12.28.2017 Trailer

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (20th Century Fox) Release: 09/27/2017
Expires: 12/28/2017 12:00 AM
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” introduced the world to Kingsman – an independent, international intelligence agency operating at the highest level of discretion, whose ultimate goal is to keep the world safe. In “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” our heroes face a new challenge. When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that tests their agents’ strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy…
Be In This Summer https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KTXZADE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=mcextv-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01KTXZADE&linkId=658976ad00666e6c6589c73ec5e4a358Genres: Action-Adventure
Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry with Sir Elton John, and Channing Tatum, and Jeff Bridges
Directed By Matthew Vaughn

cinemania.tv “Into the Future”

“The Persian Connection” – cast: Reza Sixo Safai, Helena Mattsson, Julian Sands, Parviz Sayyad, Laura Harring, Dominic Rains, Nikolai Kinski, Gregory Kasyan, Daniel Zolghadri

Release date : TBA 2017
Synopsis : As a child soldier, Behrouz (Reza Sixo Safai) miraculously survived the Iran-Iraq War to be squirreled away to the streets …

26 April 2017 | 12:00 pm

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