Thursday, May 14, 2015

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)


Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Writers:    Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Homer (poem Odyssey)
Cast:         George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson


In the deep south during the 1930s. three escaped convicts search for a hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them. 

O Brother is an overlooked film by many when they talk about Coen brothers' filmography and the period after Big Lebowski from 1998 up to release of No Country for Old Men in 2007 is often considered as a lean period for them. Apart from O Brother, they made The Man Who Wasn't There, Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers during that period out of which I haven't seen the latter two making them the only Coens films that I haven't seen yet. I saw O Brother some four or so years back and thoroughly enjoyed it. The print that I saw was a shitty one which didn't do justice to the Sepia-toned cinematography done by Roger Deakins and it was quite appropriate for me to revisit it in 720p.  It was the first film to extensively use digital color correction giving it, what fuckwits calls these days, an instagrammed look. 

The less than intellectual characters headed by rationalist played by George Clooney, who is a Dapper Dan man,  is at the center of it and I found them very funny. The level of enjoyments you get out of the film will very much depend on whether you buy George Clooney in his role and I didn't have any problems with it. There is a Forrest Gump feel to the whole thing with it touching upon features of the era it is set in like KKK, depression era politics, radio broadcasts, commercialization of music etc. It is really a charming film and the comedy is not as dark as they are in a typical Coens film. 

Film was quite successful at box office but its soundtrack was a blockbuster spawning a documentary and three follow-up albums. Noted musician and producer T-Bone Burnett, who is familiar for me from his work in True Detective, worked with Coens during the production stage itself. Even though George Clooney practiced his singing for the film, his part was dubbed over using the voice of Dan Tyminski. 

Overall it is great watch and might be up the ale of even those who are not quite fond of Coens. For me, they are in my top five three directors of all time and even possibly by most favorite period. They have tried out almost all the genres out there creating what can be described as classics in those and their broadness in range can be summed up by pointing out that they were behind 'The Big Lebowski' and 'No Country For Old Men'. 

Rating: 4/5