as much a film about a man as it is a film about a city and the modern condition. in this way it reminds me of a serious version of office space. douglas plays a man at the edge of his rope. beaten down by the heat of the day, the rat race of life and the modern condition. if you don’t know what that is then you’re not likely to enjoy this film. for me the film has always been about living vicariously through douglas’s character. it’s like watching office space and seeing livingston’s character shrug off work and telling his boss essentially to fuck off. of course this film is more serious than office space. it addresses more than just the minutiae of the workplace – it encompasses the breakdown of the family unit, issues of fitting in, class issues, urban decay, etc.
it’s a well shot film. you feel the heat and there’s good energy to it. the film is balanced with more comic relief than i remember and that’s a good thing. it peters out a bit towards the end, but it ends the way it should; the only way it can, really. it’s been twelve years since it was originally released and that’s enough time to reflect upon how well it holds up. i think it holds up quite well and is a small modern classic.
sure, there are elements that i could have done without (for example, it being duvall’s last day on the job is a bit cliché), but they’re pretty minor points against the backdrop of a thoroughly entertaining and cathartic filmgoing experience.
note: the japanese cop plays frances mcdormand’s old friend in fargo.