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Lust, jealousy and murder are the three principals of Shakespeare's play, Othello, as well as Tim Blake Nelson's (Kansas, The Grey Zone, Eye of God) modern movie rendition, 'O' (2001, Lions Gate Film). Set in an established boarding school, 'O' follows the lives of six teenagers, Odin James (Mekhi Phifer), Hugo Goulding (Josh Hartnett), Michael Cassio (Andrew Keegan), Desi Brable (Julia Stiles) Emily (Rain Phoenix), and Roger Rodriguez (Elden Henson), and their spiral out of control. Although 'O' is more modern in setting and language, both the play and the movie share the same principals and the modern approach let's a new audience see that Shakespeare is timeless.

'O' evolves around the lives of three basketball heavyweights and their friends. Seemingly best friends with Hugo, Odin, the star player on the team, chooses Michael Cassio as his second hand man. Hugo's jealousy begins to boil over and a plot to destroy the lives of Michael Cassio, Desi, and Odin is born. Odin is the most popular person at school, and the fact that Hugo's father thinks of Odin as a son, ticks Hugo off, fueling his jealousy. Enlisting the help of Roger, Desi's one time fling, Hugo begins to take down the people who hurt him the most, and maybe a few others just for fun. Desi, Odin's current girlfriend, becomes the cheese in the mouse trap, without her knowledge, which gives us that horrifying scenario we've been looking for.

'O' stays pretty true to the plot in the play Othello. For example, the jealousy and anger of Hugo towards Odin and Michael, and the intention to destroy their lives/reputations are the central ideas for both the book and the film. Lust, jealousy, and murder play an important role in the connection between Othello and the movie 'O.' In Othello, Iago is jealous of Cassio for being chosen over him for the position of Lieutenant, and likewise, in the film, 'O,' Hugo is envious of Michael Cassio because Odin chose Cassio for the award over him. In both the film and the book, Hugo's plot spirals out of control, and even he didn't know where his scheme was heading. In addition, Desdemona and Othello are lovers who have to keep their love a secret because her father doesn't approve of her dating an African, just as, Desi and Odin couldn't reveal their relationship. Lastly, murder is an important theme because it is ultimately the result of a plan going haywire.

The modern film interpretation takes in a whole new audience then Shakespeare ever intended, but he would enjoy this version. He shouldn't be too disappointed with the concepts in the film because they stay true to his original ideas (modernized). The movie introduces the staying quality of Shakespeare because 'O' relates the concepts of the Elizabethan Era to the ideas of the 21st century. 'O' is one of the better Shakespearean modernized versions, and although the audience has changed, the intentions and ideas that Shakespeare had in Othello, ring true in the movie, 'O.' I give this film a 4 out of 5 stars for accuracy and a 4.5 out of 5 for strictly entertainment purposes. Hugo's raging jealousy sort of makes you feel sorry for the guy, but at the same time, it makes for a hell of a nail biter.





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