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O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Sometimes, you have to lose your way to get back home

Starring:

Charles Durning

Chris Thomas King

Daniel von Bargen

Del Pentecost

George ClooneyGeorge Clooney

Holly HunterHolly Hunter

John Goodman

John Turturro

Michael Badalucco

Tim Blake Nelson

Wayne Duvall

Directed by:

Ethan Coen

Joel Coen

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 106 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Country: France, United Kingdom, United States

O Brother, Where Art Thou is (supposedly) Homer’s epic poem ‘The Odyssey’ set in the Deep South in Depression-era America. In this period piece, three convicts – ridiculously loquacious Everett (Clooney) and his dim-witted companions Delmar (Blake Nelson) and Pete (Turturro) – as they evade sadistic lawman Sheriff Cooley (von Bargen) whilst trying to get to hidden treasure and Everett’s estranged wife. Along the way, they cross bible salesman Big Dan Teague (Goodman), make records and gatecrash Klu Klux Klan meetings. 

O Brother, Where Art Thou is a funny, charming and upbeat movie that provides a fascinating plot, memorable quirky characters, action set-pieces and a whole series of fascinating encounters. The real highlight of O Brother is the soundtrack – an authentic mix of bluegrass, gospel, blues and country that has become a best seller in it’s own right. Upbeat and moody in equal measures it is the perfect companion piece for the action unfolding on screen and makes a good film even better. It not only sounds great but looks it too as the setting is distinctly 1930’s American and it looks beautiful.

George Clooney is excellent as the silver-tongued Everett and this is certainly one of his more complete roles that shows that he’s not just a pretty face or the savour of the mother earth. The supporting cast does well to flesh out a series of well written characters, from Turturro and Blake Nelson’s simpleton double act to Goodman’s bible-selling conman and van Bargen’s menacing Sheriff. Overall, many fine facets come together to add to the Coen Brother’s growing collection of classics.

It's Got: Humour, memorable characters, one of the great movie soundtracks

It Needs: To be bought with the CD.

DVD Extras Production feturette, trailer, music video for "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow", scene comparisons, "Painting with Pixels featurette. No Director's commentary. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona, The Grapes of Wrath

Summary

The Coen Brothers once again show what you can do with perfectly realised characters, an awesome soundtrack and a wonderful storyline. A depression-era movie that’s far from depressing.

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