O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Director: Joel Coen
The Coen brothers are truly masters of the big screen. They continuously combine the writing of great characters and capture fantastic-looking scenes. This movie is one of their best, taking the (very) bare bones story of the trials and tribulations of Homer's Odyssey and wrapping it into a depression-era story that is truly entertaining from start to finish.
The story follows the escape of 3 convicts from a chain gang, led by the fast-talking somewhat egotistic con man Ulysses Everett McGill, played superbly by George Clooney. He convinces the two other convicts to whom he is chained to escape by splitting up a huge score McGill had made and buried before getting busted. The only problem is that the state is planning on flooding the valley in which this treasure is buried in the next couple of days, so they have to get there before then. These cons are also played in fine form by Coen-regular John Turturro as the hot-tempered Pete, and the amusingly dimwitted Delmar by Tim Blake Nelson. Their adventures are many and varied in trying to reach the valley in time, with some rather unexpected turns.
Music plays a huge role throughout the film, with some great examples of blue-grass to gospel. But it is really is the great delivery by all the actors that make this movie that much more enjoyable. The nuances of the acting and great look of the film makes this a movie you can watch several times over.
Great Scene: Our first real introduction to McGill and his band while trying to jump onto (and subsequently getting off of) a train. And pretty much any scene with the truly goofy expressions and lines of Tim Blake Nelson (aye, the toad scene is priceless).
DVD Notes: Nicely done package by Universal, including a decent (though short) featurette on the making of it with some nice clips with all the majors, as well as a great look into how the film was digitally altered to give it the period look. Also a nice storyboard comparison of 2 major scenes, and a video of the Soggy Bottom Boys with clips from the film. Apparently the Coen brothers aren't into doing the commentary thing, which is a cryin' shame, I'd love to hear more of what they have to say about making this film.