Directed by the Oscar-winning Coen brothers (“Fargo”) and starring Oscar-winner George Clooney, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is a hilarious movie that gets funnier the more you see it. The 2000 award-winning film is loosely based on the legendary epic poem “The Odyssey” (by Homer), but set here during the Great Depression.
Ulysses Everett McGill (Clooney) finds himself chained to the pessimistic, short-tempered Pete (John Turturro) and the optimistic, not-too-bright Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) chopping rocks with a chain gang. Desperate to get home, Everett tells Pete and Delmar he buried $1.2 million by his old house. The bait persuades them to escape and the trio heads for Everett’s hometown. On their way they encounter many hilarious obstacles, including Pete’s traitorous cousin in need of money; a guitarist who sold his soul to the devil; an insane bank robber; seductive sirens who have an eye on the escapees’ bounty; the Klu Klux Klan, and worst of all, a merciless sheriff who will stop at nothing (including the law) to find them.
Some of the humor takes time to understand; the feeling after seeing it the first time is slight confusion, but after many viewings, it reveals more and more. “O Brother” is filled with a balanced mix of comedy, adventure, action and suspense, which makes the movie appeal to most. The directing, acting, story and setting are phenomenal, especially the adaptation from Greek myth to a tale of the Great Depression. The setting, props, themes and music, even the way the actors talk, makes you really feel like you’re back in the 1930s.
The soundtrack spotlights a wide range of songs, and plays a major part in the plot of the movie. Simply put, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is a great movie and worth every penny of the rental fee.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.