"Thus open the gates of paradise."

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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

06 Apr 2002

Are you a Dapper Dan man?
Here's a familiar factoid: Did you know that no matter where you are right now, there is a copy of The Odyssey within six feet of you? It's true! Or am I thinking about the proximity of spiders? No matter.

It's not important whether you've read The Odyssey or not; the fact that the new Coen Brothers film is based on it is just a bit of trivia that you can produce the next time you're at the water cooler to impress your friends. That's how I use it, anyway.

So what's it about? Three escaped convicts travel through the depression-era South, in search of treasure. And they will find it, though not the treasure they have been seeking. George Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson, and John Turturro are the escapees; for once, I have nothing but praise for Clooney's performance. In fact, everyone is pretty much spot-on. Coen Brothers favourites John Goodman and Holly Hunter make appearances that remind me of what they're capable.

The film is shot in a faint sepia tone pall. Or perhaps you'd rather think of it as a gold coloured filter of days gone by. Roger Deakins (cinematographer) paints us a beautiful picture of a dry, hot summer with the same skill he demonstrated in earlier Coen movies like "The Big Lebowski", "Barton Fink", and "The Hudsucker Proxy". Looking over his credits, I find that he's photographed a number of my favourite films: "1984", "Stormy Monday" and "Kundun" to name a few.

And just in case lush visuals aren't your thing, I'd say you should go for the music alone. For the last month or so, I've been listening to the soundtrack at home and at work. It's nothing but gentle hillbilly music for which I've had no appetite until now. 

I was going to give my usual benediction of "no car chases" and "no guns", then but remembered that there actually is a scene with car chase, and in fact, they're shooting guns at the same time. But never mind. Go see in anyway.

Related Sites

O Brother, Where Art Thou (Official Site)
O Brother, Where Art Thou (IMDB)