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With nothing to lose and still in shackles, three escapees from a Mississippi prison chain gang make a hasty run for their lives and end up on an incredible journey filled with challenging experiences and colorful characters. However, they must also match wits with the cunning and mysterious lawman Cooley, who tracks the men, bent on bringing the trio back to the prison farm.
Drama - A comedy/road picture from the Coen Brothers, O Brother, Where
Thou? represents a weaker effort from the offbeat creative team.
The film has a small target audience -- only those who appreciate
quirky comedies and road films are likely to find much to appreciate.
PROFANITY: GD 13 times, many other milder profanities. SEX/NUDITY: One sexually suggestive scene. VIOLENCE: Being escaped convicts there is some gun play. Nothing graphic. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Some drinking. Nothing to excess. ACTION: Some foot chases and one minor automobile chase. COMEDY: This seems to be a comedy from the previews, but it contains minimal humor.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? is essentially Homer's "The Odyssey" by way of the Coen Brothers with an assist from Preston Sturges (the title comes from the Sturges film, Sullivan's Travels). Or, to put it another way, it's a period piece road movie about a trio of ex-cons who wend their way around the state of Mississippi during the Great Depression. Fans of the Coens may be disappointed by this effort, however. The filmmakers' trademark quirkiness is in evidence, but it often feels forced and the comedic elements are inconsistent. O Brother lacks the explosion of inventive audacity that has characterized the Coens' strongest endeavors. There are several effective moments - some approaching near-brilliance - but they are encased in a meandering storyline. That's often the danger with a road picture - the characters may be going somewhere, but they seem to be taking forever to get there.
OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
My prediction below was wrong. I didn't think moviegoers would enjoy this offbeat comedy as much as I did. Nearly everyone LOVED "O Brother." Only a very few were somewhat disappointed, but no one disliked it.
With the very large number of opinions above "Good" and the very few low opinions, I can HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS MOVIE TO EVERYONE! It's great fun to watch Clooney and his cast of characters in these roles.
My Thoughts: (Before Opinions Collected)
I don't believe this is a movie everyone's going to enjoy. I suspect most will find it mildly entertaining (and it does have its moments), but it's not likely to bring in very many high moviegoer opinions. I did enjoy watching Clooney in this unusual role. He and his comrades did an excellent acting job.
Everett Ulysses McGill (George Clooney) is a garrulous, silver-tongued, petty criminal, having some difficult adjusting to the regimentation of life as a man sentenced to a term of hard labor in Mississippi. Reluctant to spend any more time crushing rocks, he scams his way off the chain gang with a clumsy duo of lame losers: sweet and simple Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson), and the maladjusted Pete (John Turturro). The trio embarks on the adventure of a lifetime as they set out to pursue their freedom and the promise of sharing in the division of a fortune in buried treasure. With nothing to lose and still in shackles, they make a hasty run for their lives and end up on an incredible journey filled with awesome experiences and colorful characters. However, they must also match wits with the cunning and mysterious lawman Cooley (Daniel Von Bargen), who tracks the men, determined to bring the trio back to the prison farm.