Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Matt Fraction is an interesting comics writer. He wrote a too-short-lived Marvel book called FF, about a handpicked substitute group that watched over the Fantastic Four's property while they were away.

He also turns out to be a pretty sharp film critic, here analyzing a memorable but somewhat controversial scene in the Coens' Fargo.
It doesn’t come immediately after the Mike Yanigata scene (there’s José Feliciano, sex, violence, a box of money, and a red ice scraper before we get there) and, like that scene, it feels weird at first blush: “Hey remember that funny scene a few minutes ago? Yeah that guy was even sadder and creepier than he appeared. Ha ha! Can’t believe you fell for that.”

It lets us know, though, that Marge pushing the guy out of her booth and back to his own wasn’t remotely selfish or unkind. Her evil detector pinged. She forced the bad guy out of the frame. 
A few people have expressed bafflement to me over what the Mike Yanigata scene was doing in the movie. While I never objected to it, I had a hard time coming up with a straight answer. He does come off as manipulative, in a way that men would do well to memorize with a "don't be like this" warning appended. Adding him to the mix as a demonstration of Marge's policewoman instinct is a move of sneaky brilliance.


susan said...

Although we've seen Fargo several times I had to look up a video of the Mike Yanigata scene in order to remember who he was. Then just how uncomfortable I felt watching that short scene all came back in a rush. The idea that the Coen brothers used the character as a subtle signal of Marge's instincts really was ingenious. The extra marvel is that her essential kindness is very apparent.

Ben said...

I can see forgetting it. If you recount the plot of the movie to someone that scene might not be mentioned at all, because at first blush it could be from a whole other movie. But you're right that it demonstrates her kindness. Which doesn't really seem to be a big factor for movie detectives by and large.