Sunday, 7 March 2010

O Brother, where art thou? - The Coen's redeemed

I thought it only fair to give the Coen Brothers an opportunity to redeem themselves - and they did! This is a creative and stylish retelling of Homer's Odyssey set in Depression-hit Mississippi of the 1930's. George Clooney is tethered to two other convicts in a chain gang when he makes his escape. The three of them go in search of a pot of gold. Of course they never find gold - not in a literal sense anyway. But as with any 'road movie' - it's the journey that counts.

There are good characterisations from Clooney, John Tuturro and Tim Blake Nelson. The many temptations and snares that befall Homer are re-presented in creative interpretations. The Sirens of the rocks are particularly convincing - especially when they turn Pete into a Horny Toad!

This movie has all the quirky hall marks of the Coen brothers in how they twist and retell stories that are familiar. Narrative and attention to detail are important to them. The use of the expansive and empty wastelands of Mississippi provide great impact. The reminder that the fugitives are never far from the law is driven home as they repeatedly encounter chain gangs. The encounter with the KKK is theatrical and well choreographed, even if their escape from them  is a little far-fetched.

The soundtrack is wonderful with a great range of country, blues, bluegrass, gospel and a dozen other forms of music all fused into an accompaniment that adds weight to an already weighty film.

I'd not seen this before - but I'd gladly see it again. I'll give it 7.5/10

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