Monday, April 11, 2011

O, Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Cinema Sweetheart's Rating: 9 out of 10
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Comedy, Adventure
Runtime: 106 minutes

This wonderful adaptation of the Classical story of The Odyssey is set in the Southern United States in the 1930s.  Ulysses Everett McGill (Clooney) escapes from a chain gang while still chained to two of his fellow convicts Pete (Turturro) and Delmar (Nelson).  The three of them go off in search of a treasure that Everett buried before his arrest.  On the way, they encounter many trials, including a trigger-happy bank robber; three seductive Sirens; and Big Dan Teague, a one-eyed Bible salesman (John Goodman).  And Everett, finally reunited with his “faithful” wife Penny (Holly Hunter), learns that she not only told their children that he was dead (hit by a train!), but is actually engaged to someone else!

What makes this film so great is that besides being an amazing adaptation of a classic story, it combines a stellar cast with perfect cinematography and breath-taking scenery.  I was totally enthralled by many of the scenes; it was absolutely beautiful!

I also love how seamlessly this film blended the original story of Odysseus’s homecoming with a plot and cast of characters that were totally new.  While Everett might have been based on Odysseus, George Clooney breathed new life into the character, making him far more accessible to modern audiences.  The additions of Pete and Delmar were also very welcome.  Delmar in particular was incredibly endearing.  His simple-minded charm made me absolutely love him.  When Pete disappears after their encounter with the Sirens, Delmar’s reaction was by far one of my favorite parts of the movie!

If you are a fan of Classic (Greco-Roman) mythology, have read The Odyssey, or are looking for a movie with good music (GO, SOGGY BOTTOM BOYS!!!!), then I strongly recommend this film.  Even if you don’t know the whole story of Odysseus’s journey home, this is still a fun film to view and share.  I watched it twice before writing this review (within a two week period) and I have to say that the second time around was almost funnier than the first!  And for about a week afterwards, I was still humming “Man of Constant Sorrow”! (Again: GO, SOGGY BOTTOM BOYS!!!!)

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