HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
   
 
Newest Articles
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
   
 
  O Brother, Where Art Thou? Making Good Their Escape
Year: 2000
Director: Joel Coen
Stars: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Chris Thomas King, Charles Durning, Del Pentecost, Michael Badalucco, J.R. Horne, Brian Reddy, Wayne Duvall, Ed Gale, Ray McKinnon, Daniel von Bargen, Royce D. Applegate
Genre: Comedy, Adventure, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: A chain gang is breaking rocks in the hot sun of 1937 Mississippi, but they are missing three convicts for a trio of escapees have sneaked away into the surrounding fields, still chained to one another, and now have to work out a way of getting the fortune in cash they stole, the crime they were arrested and imprisoned for. They manage to get to the forests whereupon the alarm is raised and head off as quickly as their circumstances will allow, picking up a chicken to eat along the journey, but that path they take will be fraught with danger as they meet a wide variety of people...

In fact, you could call it an odyssey, and with good reason for Joel Coen and Ethan Coen claimed right there in the opening credits to have based this collection of tall tales on Homer's most famous poem. Some were sceptical about this, having been smarted by the filmmakers' announcement that Fargo had been based on a true story when it wasn't really, but to be fair there were more allusions to the classic writer than there was stuff made up exclusively for the plot, and most people would be able to spot Polyphemus the Cyclops and the Sirens, for example, references to the original text of thousands of years ago (which the Coens asserted they had never actually read).

So the cognoscenti would be coaxed into appreciating O Brother, Where Art Thou?, not least because the title was taken from Preston Sturges' classic comedy drama Sullivan's Travels where it had been the name of the fictional director's misguided magnum opus. But if you wanted slapstick and broadly sketched characters in a crowdpleasing fashion, they were only too pleased to give you that too, with the result that the whole tone verged on the facetious, apart from one element, and that was the music. This was in its revisionist stylings a musical, and the T. Bone Burnett-supervised soundtrack album went on to be a runaway success, more so than the movie it hailed from though much of the pleasure can still derive from watching those tunes in this context.

A Man of Constant Sorrow was the most identified tune here, sung by George Clooney's character Ulysses Everett McGill, though the star was miming, and to illustrate how the music was perfectly sincere it's that which offers redemption to him and his two cohorts, Pete (John Turturro) and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson), when they record it to get a bit of spending money - with Tommy Johnson (Chris Thomas King) who's recently sold his soul, on guitar - not realising the disc becomes a statewide hit and makes them famous. If anyone knew who they were, that is, the engineer who captured their harmonies being blind. In the meantime, the escapees must avoid a sinister bunch of lawmen who are hot on their heels, and if that wasn't bad enough negotiate the various personalities who insist on crossing their path.

With Roger Deakins' gloriously sepia-toned photography you could hang just about any frame of this on a wall, and this dedication to the surface could also speak of a shallowness in the screenplay, but excellent playing by a cast including John Goodman in Cyclopean mode, Holly Hunter as the awkward wife Ulysses wants to win back to in echoes of tradition, and Charles Durning as the bad tempered governor who might be able to save the day, but then again may not (check out his little dance!) ensured this was nothing if not colourful. There was a curious religious angle as well, with the protagonist resolutely scientific for a long time in spite of the almost fantastical events and coincidences that litter his experience since fleeing captivity until he finally gives in for a plea to higher forces, who may be the Christian God or may be something more ancient judging by the classical nods, and receives an Old Testament deus ex machina for his contrition. It takes a particular sense of humour to laugh at this mix of high and lowbrow, but the exuberance was something to see.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2571 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: