The 1996 Coen brothers film “Fargo” slyly establishes a crucial truth that all crime buffs need to understand in its first seconds: Everyone lies. At least, everyone is definitely lying in “Fargo,” including the title cards. There’s no true story here, despite what the credits say. However, there are glimpses of honest human behavior in the North Dakota emptiness, where the blackest comedy is set against snowy white plains.
Jerry Lundegaard’s big lie about his wife (Jerry hired two men to kidnap her himself, hoping to collect a ransom from her family) spirals out of his control fast, and he can’t understand that he never had control in the first place. His father-in-law, Wade, lies to him habitually, never giving Jerry any agency. The tragedy that follows is Lundegaard’s fault, but it’s not hard to see how Wade helped Jerry’s actions get out of hand. The only somewhat honest character in this film is one half of the duo that Jerry hires, the stoic but terrifying Gaear, played by Peter Stormare. That’s because he’s an emotionless husk, incapable of caring enough about anything to lie about it.