O Brother, Where Art Thou? Movie Review
O Brother, Where Art Thou? is supposed to be a remake of Homer's "The Odyssey, but its comparison to that classic tale can be seen no more than in a hundred other movies. The only difference is that this version is more random and comical than anything you can expect.
If there was really a world filled with idiots, the Coen Brothers' (Fargo) tale of three criminals trying to escape signifies it. There isn't a single character in the film that doesn't have some mental or physical deformity, the closest to normal being the character played by Holly Hunter. George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson makes up the band of convicts that are running from the law. Clooney is the smartest of the three by far, but even he gets into some bad situations, all the while obsessing about his perfect hair. Turturro is dumb to the bone, but does have some common sense. Nelson is a complete dimwit, having no clue about anything (but, like many dumb people, being the most likeable).
The movie goes along quite randomly, each scene linked together only by the point that there are three criminals trying to hide from the law and get some treasure that Clooney buried. A lot of the scenes are so random that the only way you can justify why they are in the movie is by looking to "The Odyssey" and say, "Maybe this is a modern version of that scene." The most obvious example is where the three men come across a group of singing ladies washing themselves in the river, and they are seduced. What was the point? I don't know.
From a religious choir to a popular folk band to the KKK, O Brother covers every aspect of the stereotypical south. There are some politics in the movie and I sort of liked that, but the movie never plays the politics too intelligently.
As one of my friends put it, "Some scenes are funny, and some scenes, you're going: what the heck is the reason for that scene?" To put it plainly, some scenes are funny, and some are not.
The movie drags on in a lot of parts, especially the first half. The second half picks up pace and is reasonably enjoyable to watch, but I was already drifting in and out of consciousness. I do not consider O Brother, Where Art Thou? a bad movie; it's just that the Coen Brothers thought that their script was funnier than it really is, and they relied to much on expecting the audience to laugh at the randomness of their film that they forgot to put more substance in it.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? is worth watching, but it's nothing I'll see again.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.