Jerry Lundegaard (Macy) is a Minneapolis car salesman who has gotten himself into debt and is so desperate for money that he hires two thugs (Buscemi and Stormare) to kidnap his own wife. His plan is to collect the ransom from his wealthy father-in-law to pay the thugs and keep the rest to satisfy his debts. The scheme collapses when the kidnappers murder three innocent victims in rural Minnesota, drawing the local Police Chief, Marge Gunderson (McDormand), into her first homicide investigation.
The matted 1.85:1 picture exhibits natural color fidelity, accurate fleshtones and deep solid blacks. The picture is sharp and detailed, with excellent shadow detail. There is no noise but the slightest artifacts are apparent.
The soundtrack is conventional with a nicely recorded music score that provides subtle surround envelopment. Occasional sound effects create limited dimension and surround ambiance. The dialogue is mostly ADR-produced but is always intelligible