If you've never lived in Minnesota (as an outsider), you might wonder if the accents in Fargo are realistic, or Hollywood caricature. It's the real thing. The details are part of the magic of Fargo, a picture I thoroughly enjoyed, and well-deserving of its awards.

At its heart, Fargo is a film about people in way over their heads. William Macy plays a car dealership sales manager, and although not fully explained, he is in financial hardship of some kind. GMAC continuously calls him about money loaned and cars borrowed. Macy's character decides the best way to recoup his losses is through the abduction of his wife, for which his wealthy father-in-law (owner of the car dealership) will pay the ransom. The hit men, Steve Buschemi and Peter Stormare, at least get the abduction correct. Unfortunately they kill three people on the way back to the hideout. Equally unfortunate for Macy, the wealthy father-in-law insists on paying the ransom himself. Tying the seemingly separate crimes of the homicides near Brainerd and the abduction in suburban Minneapolis is Frances McDormand, playing the chirpy, pregnant Brainerd police chief who figures it out.

The story is comedic and dark simultaneously, and the details elevate it-- Gophers hockey, scraping the ice from the car, eating at a cafeteria, haggling over rust-proofing. Fargo is American story-telling at its finest.