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copyright ©1999-2001

flick pick | O Brother, Where Art Thou? 2000
Directed by: Joel Coen
Written by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Homer
Starring: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, Holly Hunter
Language: English

Look for it at the video store under:
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:
nostalgic, whimsical
The verdict: ½/ 5 the rating system explained

Plot synopsis In Depression-era Mississippi, convict Ulysses Everett McGill [Clooney] and his dimwitted chain gang buddies Pete [Turturro] and Delmar [Nelson] stage an escape in order to seek some hidden treasure. The money Ulysses stole during the bank heist that landed him in prison is still buried somewhere on his property, and Ulysses is heading back – along with his friends of course, with whom he’ll divvy up the loot -- to find it. But like Homer’s Ulysses, O Brother’s protagonist finds himself encountering all sorts of strange persons and bizarre situations – from a black guitarist who’s sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his talent, to a crazed bank robber who’s more concerned with achieving sufficient notoriety than he is with making money, to an evil one-eyed Bible salesman, to three stunning bathing Sirens that seduce the boys with their beauty, then lull them into slumber with their soothing singing.  The obstacles keep on coming at Ulysses as he makes his way on that long road home.

Review My brother rented this movie for me the day after I returned home from the hospital after an emergency surgical procedure that left my abdomen riddled with stitches. Fun movie, bad choice, because every single time I felt a chuckle, worse, a guffaw, wanting to expel itself from my body – meaning, just about every few minutes or so of this very amusing flick -- my poor belly would contract in protests of pain, forcing me to whimper feeble “heh-heh-owwwwww”s instead. O Brother, Where Are Thou offer up the usual unusual from the Coen brothers, whose very distinct style of movie comedy always manages to be happy without succumbing to cheese, silly without being in the least bit stupid. Both the music (acting as sort of a constant Greek chorus, country/bluegrass/gospel-style of course) and the beautiful brown hues of the cinematography work fantastically to evoke that feeling of the deep South in days of yore, but unless you’re the sort of person who’s concerned with such artsy-fartsy matters of cinematic technique, all you’ll notice is the gleefully wacky, charmingly whimsical way in which this good ol’ fashioned yarn unfolds. O Brother, Where Art Thou may lack the undercurrent of darkness that brings depth to the very best Coen brothers’ movies (the scene with the KKK that’s tossed in near the end may be attempt at making some sort of statement, but it comes completely out of the blue, really, and ultimately, just doesn’t work), but it’s good, goofy fun nonetheless. —reviewed by Y. Sun 

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