Screenplay Genre: Crime / Drama / Thriller

Movie Time: 98 minutes

1. INCITING INCIDENT

Jean Lundegaard sits alone knitting while watching TV when she hears a noise and looks up to see a man outside her sliding glass door wearing in a ski mask and holding a crowbar. The man, Carl (Steve Buscemi), smashes the glass door as his accomplice, Gaear (Peter Stormare), enters through the front door. After a prolonged struggle, Jean falls down the stairs, knocking herself out. (00:17:29)

2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)

Later, Gaear and Carl are driving on a single-lane highway on the outskirts of the town Brainard with Jean tied up in the backseat when a squad car pulls them over because Carl didn't put up the temporary tags on the car. Carl tries unsuccessfully to bribe the trooper, and when the trooper hears Jean whimper in the backseat, Gaear shoots the trooper in the head. A couple drives by, seeing Carl dragging the dead trooper off the road, so Gaear chases after them and kills them. (00:26:47)

3. FIRST CULMINATION (Midpoint)

Jean's husband, Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy), receives a phone call from Carl at the car dealership where he works. Carl informs Jerry that "Blood has been shed" and demands the entire $80,000 because of the three highway murders in Brainard. As soon as he hangs up, Jerry receives another call from the man at GMAC, who tells him he never received the serial numbers and that he'll refer the matter to the legal department if he doesn't get the numbers by the next day. (00:50:29)

4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

Carl sits in his idling car on a rooftop parking garage waiting for Jerry to meet him with the money, but Wade, Jerry's father-in-law, pulls up instead and refuses to cooperate until he sees his daughter, so Carl shoots Wade in the stomach and goes for the briefcase, but Wade fires back, a bullet hitting Carl's jaw. Holding his bloody jaw, Carl fires a few more bullets into Wade; then takes the money and flees. Jerry arrives after the fact to find Wade's dead body. Jerry pops the truck. (1:08:57)

5. THIRD ACT TWIST

Officer Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) drives along an isolated road around Moose Lake when she spots the tan Ciera parked in front of a cabin. As she gets out, she hears the load roar of a powerful machine in the distance. Making her way toward the noise, she discovers Gaear pushing Carl's dismembered leg down into a wood chipper, pools of blood and the rest of Carl's body in the snow. (1:26:23)