Blood in the Snow: ‘Fargo’ Season One and the Color Red

A stain on normalcy.
By  · Published on May 30th, 2017

A stain on normalcy.

Fargo, the film, relies heavily on its environmental backdrop, specifically said backdrop’s white color scheme, to establish the atmosphere surrounding the story, which is one of purity stained by crime and violence. In Fargo the TV series’ first season, this color scheme is inverted, with the lion’s share of attention being paid to shades of red over white, or thematically-speaking, the crime and violence over the purity, which is here an undercurrent.

Part of this can be attributed to the narratives’ respective focus: though both are told from multiple perspectives, in Fargo the film our lead is undoubtedly Margie Gunderson, law enforcement officer, and in Fargo the series’ first season, our leads are Lorne Malvo and Lester Nygaard, the narrative’s criminal elements. The former enforces purity while the latter wreak violence, and as such the chromatic accompaniment shifts accordingly.

Showcasing this accompaniment is the following video from Mikolaj Kacprzak, who has collected all the red from Fargo’s first season to highlight its impact on the characters and storyline. From the subtle to the blatant, the bright to the muted, each shade of red has significance, each informs those persons in the scene, and each draws us deeper into the psychology of the series.

Fargo Red || Video Essay from Mikolaj Kacprzak on Vimeo.

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