Those Coen boys are at it again. Less excessive weirdness in a snow covered landscape; "chestnuts roasting on an open fire, wood chippers spitting out their blood."

Leave it to a seven-month-pregnant police woman hailing from Brainerd, the town beneath the shadow of those giants Paul Bunyan and Blue, to solve a crime and your tempo is set. A hopeless car salesman (William H. Macy) with an outstanding debt arranges an inept kidnapping of his wife by two low-lifes (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) which manages to get so bungled that bodies begin falling like flies. Intelligent, but slow moving police woman Marge Gunderson will solve the puzzle in a practical kind of way ("Jeez, that's a good lead"). Superb points for Frances McDormand as Marge whose performance, upon investigation, may seem reminiscent of Detective Lacy from New York, but the accent is definitely from Minnesota. McDormand achieves recognition as a star in her own right.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett