O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Joel Coen, 2000)
Written by Ethan and Joel Coen and directed by the latter, it is stated in the openning of the film that O Brother, Where Art Thou? is based on Homer’s Odyssey and titled just like the movie Joel McCrea’s character in Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels works on while traveling as a hobo in the movie. The Coens have a grand admiration towards the director of some of the best comedies of the 1940’s and it is a great homage to make this movie that was never directed and that carries Sturges’ spirit. Some scenes are direct connections to the original film of 1941 especially the scene in the movie theatre.
The three main characters, Everett (George Clooney), Pete (John Turturro) and Delmer (Tim Blake Nelson) escape from prison and have to find a treasure that Everett has buried within four days before the spot where the treasure is hidden gets flooded to create a river. On their quest they will meet many peculiar characters and get a treasure but not the one they were expecting.
The music of O Brother, Where Art Thou? has been celebrated many times for its contemporary folk tunes and the soundtrack even won a Grammy. The color of the picture has been digitally modified and it gave a sepia look to the images that reminded of old pictures. Once again cinematographer Roger Deakins has done a great job in shooting this odyssey with brilliant exteriors of dusty roads, ugly/funny faces and southern accents.
Far from being the brother’s strongest effort, or their weakest, it is a very funny movie that is well-balanced compared to Burn After Reading but not as masterfully handled as Fargo or No Country For Old Men. There’s something very interesting in the films of conetemporary directors like the Coens, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, and many others, is that they make movies that will pleased them and that they would be enclined to watch for their own pleasure. As a film lover I am very fond of those kind of movies that the filmmakers can release and that despite their flaws, just like Django Unchained are sheer pleasures and filled with references aimed to the hardcore cinephiles. It might get on the nerves of some because this is not a film made in fashion with populist references and ideas but it can be greatly enjoyed.