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Overall Rating
4.33

Awesome60.16%
Worth A Look: 25%
Average: 7.42%
Pretty Bad: 2.34%
Total Crap: 5.08%

15 reviews, 166 user ratings


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O Brother, Where Art Thou?
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"'The Odyssey'? Please. They're pulling our leg again, and I love it."
5 stars

Filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen live in an interesting little world. I want to live there.

Filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen live in an interesting little world. It's a world where everyone, even the one-line characters, has a distinctive face and an unmistakably Coen method of deadpan delivery. It's a world where dialogue that is unimpressive when spoken once becomes hysterically funny when repeated a few times. It's a world where you shouldn't be surprised to hear people at the bottom of the socio-political ladder speaking in erudite language and using the most imaginative sentence constructions.

The Coens, who co-write and co-direct their films (though only Joel is officially credited in the latter capacity), are also extremely divisive. In my opinion, "The Hudsucker Proxy" is every bit as funny as "Raising Arizona," yet there are many who don't like it at all. I consider "Fargo" overrated and largely unamusing, but legions of people disagree -- and many of those people don't like "Raising Arizona" at all.

Whatever your opinions on their previous films, it can be said with some degree of objectivity that their latest, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," hearkens back to "Raising Arizona" in tone and style. Both films feature outlaws from the South with grand schemes; both have John Goodman and Holly Hunter; and both are marked by controlled, deliberate zaniness, a feeling of pandemonium as constructed by two careful, highly intelligent filmmakers.

Set in Mississippi during the Great Depression, "O Brother" focuses on three escaped convicts: Everett Ulysses McGill (George Clooney), a fast-talking, well-spoken man obsessed with his hair; Pete Hogwallop (John Turturro), a rather ordinary criminal; and Delmar O'Donnel (Tim Blake Nelson), a complete idiot. They've escaped in order to retrieve a huge stash of money Everett hid before his capture, money that will be gone forever in a few days when a new dam is finished and the valley it's buried in is flooded.

In order to get some money, they stumble into a radio station and cut a record. They head out on the lam again immediately, unaware that their record has become a verifiable hit. They also run afoul of a one-eyed swindler (John Goodman), three "sirens" who apparently turn Pete into a frog, and occasionally the local law enforcement.

Meanwhile, there's a bombastic fathead of a governor named Pappy O'Daniel (Charles Durning), up for re-election and losing to newcomer Homer Stokes (Wayne Duvall), who has a well-run campaign, utilizing a midget and a broom to convey that he's a friend to "the little man," and that he wants to make "sweeping" reforms.

There's also malicious criminal Babyface Nelson (Michael Badalucco) and a talented bluegrass guitar player (Chris Thomas King) who sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads.

What do the election, Babyface or the devil have to do with anything? The great thing is that they're irrelevant (and just funny) for a long time, becoming important in a pleasant little way as things progress. The plot is fantastically imaginative but unobtrusive. Rather than focusing on surprises or twists, it satisfies just by being original and loopy. We're inclined to think that Delmar's theory about Pete being turned into a frog is incorrect because it's so absurd, but as time goes on, it starts to seem like that's actually what happened -- and we're OK with that. The movie has taken us for such a joyful wild goose chase that we're inclined to believe anything it tells us.

Clooney, Nelson and Turturro are outstanding as the leads, each memorably funny in his own right and thoroughly entertaining as a trio, too. There is palpable disappointment anytime the three are split up.

The film claims to be based on Homer's "The Odyssey," but remember these are the same guys who said "Fargo" was based on a true story, too. Elements of "The Odyssey" pop up -- John Goodman's "Cyclops," the names of Ulysses and Penny (Penelope, played by Holly Hunter), and a man's wife marrying someone else while he's away -- but the film more strongly resembles Preston Sturgis's 1940s classic "Sullivan's Travels" (whence comes the title "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"). It even more strongly resembles a crazy delusional fantasy as conjured by an English professor.

While the movie is as light-hearted as you please, it has a few moments of darkness, too. The entire thing is filmed in washed-out Dust Bowl colors, the bleakness contrasting the good humor -- except when situations grow tense and the movie turns, if not entirely serious, at least weirdly moody. I can't say I found these moments to be entirely effective, but I can say that as a whole, I haven't just sat and enjoyed myself in a movie this much in quite some time. You might disagree; just don't try to tell me "Raising Arizona" isn't funny, because I won't listen.

I haven't just sat and enjoyed myself in a movie this much in quite some time. And I think I'll go watch "Raising Arizona" again, too.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1828&reviewer=247
originally posted: 02/05/01 14:47:16
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User Comments

8/31/15 FireWithFire EVERY Coen brothers movie pisses on Whites, this one White Southerners ,before the 196660s. 1 stars
2/15/12 Ron Larson great characters, fantastic music 5 stars
10/05/11 Quigley A highly enjoyable film. One of the Coen's best. Loved the Siren scene. 5 stars
11/24/10 JTBrandt.com I don't get what people like about this movie. Jokes were stupid; soundtrack was annoying. 2 stars
6/02/10 User Name The Southern version of the Odyssey. And, suprisingly, it works. 4 stars
1/19/09 mr.mike Virtually unwatchable. 1 stars
9/17/08 Stu Moments of genius but also slow in parts. Not as good as youŽd expect from the Coens. 3 stars
6/14/08 PAUL SHORTT AN ELLECTIC AND ENTERTAINING MIX 4 stars
2/09/08 Samantha P i loooove this movie, and the music is awesome, and i hate country music! so entertaining! 5 stars
10/30/07 JeromeBoch Shit smells better. 1 stars
10/10/07 john-paul moore its the best film out 5 stars
3/01/07 Crantor D. Smithen Good premise, painfully rushed and awkward at times. Clooney saves the movie. 3 stars
1/26/06 Jerome Bosch As entertaining as am infomercial, hated the music. 1 stars
12/30/05 Agent Sands One great bit of entertainment. Hilarious, exciting, different. 5 stars
11/11/05 Vina W.O.W 4 stars
9/25/05 D Buckley constant sorrow... 1 stars
8/25/05 ES Kind of a cool song, kinda of a bad movie 2 stars
3/27/05 Jeanne George Clooney's Best - "But you ain't bona fide!" 5 stars
1/21/05 DM Funny shit. "The best thing you ever did for them gals was get hit by that train!" 4 stars
11/26/04 alien assassin the coen Brothers' masterpiece 5 stars
9/26/04 Ken One of the best american movies I've ever seen. Great casting, great musics, wonderfull! 5 stars
9/02/04 Ice Queen Loved it. Hilarious. Great casting. 5 stars
7/09/04 Gray I've been told only a "white male could enjoy this movie" 5 stars
5/30/04 Lindsay Great songs and hilarious, lovable characters! I LOVE it! 5 stars
5/25/04 John they sing a great and bizarre song - the rest is dull and slightly pretentious 2 stars
5/07/04 Ross I bought the soundtrack. 4 stars
5/03/04 Shanette N. Jones different; but great! 4 stars
4/06/04 Uni Girl This is one of many favourite movies for me and all my friends 5 stars
4/06/04 Robin Its awesome.I love that song:im a man of constant sorrow 5 stars
4/05/04 Miss Julie Damn, I love this movie! The Coens deserve a Pulitzer, never mind an Oscar. 5 stars
3/26/04 bikehorn Loved the parallel to the story of Odysseus. Brilliantly written and filmed. Great sndtrk. 5 stars
3/24/04 Kat Bailey Loved it, you have to be a true Southerner to get all the minute references, hilarious! 5 stars
2/19/04 MP Bartley O brother how over-rated and annoying art thou? 2 stars
12/18/03 * An Idiot Who Loves George Clooney* AWSOME GEORGE CLOONEY AT HIS BEST GREAT MOVIE IT FUCKIN'ROX! 5 stars
8/24/03 John Bale A wild happy visual ride with the Coen Bros. Top script and cast 5 stars
8/21/03 Matt Wonderful! A breath of fresh air. Quite infectious. 5 stars
6/22/03 cochese dumb 2 stars
6/22/03 Ashley I loved it ... I love George Clooney ... and hes a Dapper Dan Man!!! 5 stars
5/29/03 Jo Ellis excellent, could watch it over and over again 5 stars
5/17/03 George Jung Anyone who doesn't like this movie can R-U-N-N-O-F-T...or go fuck themselves...whichever. 5 stars
4/12/03 Jack Sommersby Overstated, obvious, and obnoxious. 1 stars
4/10/03 Jack Bourbon I saw this movie while doped-up on cough medicine. I think I was in some sort of trance. 5 stars
1/29/03 Christopher M. Domenick We need this movie. 5 stars
12/31/02 Bob Hardcore Great cinema. Clooney is amazing here. 5 stars
12/31/02 John Aster Habig highly sophisticated slapstick 5 stars
11/28/02 R.W. Welch Not up to "Arizona" but still an enjoyable screwball comedy. 4 stars
10/15/02 Elizaveta we're in a tight spot! 5 stars
10/12/02 andria this movie rocks! absolutely love delmar!! 5 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock I didn't realise Clooney could act. 4 stars
9/03/02 brien George Clooneys best performance since Dusk till Dawn 5 stars
7/29/02 Captain Midol I'm wary of any kind of "updated" classic, but this really hit the mark. Truly amusing. 5 stars
6/10/02 JesseL Excellent. If you know just a little about 'The Odyssey' it means more. 5 stars
6/02/02 Chris Just watch, don't ask questions or think. You'll enjoy it more trust me. 4 stars
4/28/02 Butterbean It's not "The Big Lebowski", but it's visually a treat. 4 stars
4/04/02 Edfink Lombardo Brilliant film with an equally wonderful soundtrack to boot...A true gem of a film 5 stars
4/02/02 El Talboto Excellent picture 5 stars
3/31/02 Film Guy Kick Ass little movie. 4 stars
3/31/02 Film Dude God damn, I never expected this to be so good. 5 stars
3/14/02 Rockitman007 This is one of my all time favorite movies!!!! 5 stars
2/26/02 Crusty For people who have a wandering soul. Funny, feast for the eyes, heartwarming. Top film. 5 stars
2/22/02 Kristi Good Movie! Gotta Love the music too! 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Great music. Fun. A little confusing at times. 4 stars
2/01/02 Dar Mulhall Fucking Awesome - soundtrack to match 5 stars
1/23/02 John Wilner It's pure bloodhound shit; another Hollywood lynching of southern white culture. 1 stars
1/16/02 george fountas A superb musical from coen brothers. 5 stars
11/24/01 Andrew Carden Just Not Very Funny, Good Premise Wasted. 2 stars
10/16/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Really funny and cool. 4 stars
10/10/01 Kooler Go for the depression-era detail alone. Bonus: Clooney lampoons his own narcissistic image! 4 stars
9/30/01 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Thought I would hate this movie, but I liked it. The slow witted guy was brilliant 4 stars
9/19/01 JLH One of the best movies Ive seen in a long time. Music, story, atmosphere were great. 5 stars
9/17/01 Bri Loved it. Good music. Wacky. Watch on dvd! 5 stars
9/05/01 Amy Nothing annoys me more than a southern twang and music to match yet I adore this movie!!!!! 5 stars
9/02/01 Butterbean Clooney at his cinematic best! Great cinematography! 5 stars
9/02/01 Tory Loved it 5 stars
8/31/01 spaceworm Saw this the day I found out I didn't have cancer. Talk about in the mood. 5 stars
8/19/01 phil m. afficiando Awesome(-) or Worth Look(+); different and emininently entertaining; fun twists/turns 4 stars
8/09/01 moviegoer I thoroughly enjoyed this film and hope to add it to my collection someday. 5 stars
8/07/01 Joe Zappa I've seen a lot of bad movies in my life.....but this was AWESOME!!!!! 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Clooney's best role,Tim Blake's a riot, Turturro's the man, Coen's win again and again... 5 stars
7/28/01 richy c hey gizzy! maybe you were just suffering a mild stroke? i'm concerned about you. 5 stars
7/22/01 Will that was really good. 5 stars
7/22/01 john klepper loved it 5 stars
7/08/01 R.W. Welch Imaginative road pic with some surreal twists. 4 stars
7/08/01 the scarecrow shutup Gizzy, this film kicks ass 5 stars
7/07/01 Indelusia A great movie. Cohen brothers classic, and George Clooney at his best. 5 stars
6/24/01 marilyn ITS A HOOT AND OL' GEORGE KNOWS WHAT HES DOIN WHEN HE "SINGS" 5 stars
6/22/01 Steve Ok... 4 stars
6/22/01 MacShogun Watched it numerous times still great! 5 stars
6/21/01 Gizzy I almost dozed off - it's that bad 1 stars
6/19/01 Monday Morning Fresh, totally original and well done. I also like the slightly dark edge. 5 stars
6/17/01 matt I loved this movie!! It was very well written and directed. 5 stars
6/17/01 liam myers nice feel to it 5 stars
6/17/01 I love movies it is beyond my power of comprehension how anyone could EVER find ANYTHING good about this 1 stars
6/14/01 luket anything that makes fun of the kkk is fucking awesome in my book 5 stars
6/11/01 King Jackass The best movie of the year. 5 stars
6/08/01 e j and Roy Smith are gay together THIS MOVIE RULES!!!!!! 5 stars
6/05/01 MM Did you notice the people who didn't like it can't spell worth a damn? 5 stars
6/04/01 e j Sucks all ass is a sever understatement!!!!! 1 stars
5/28/01 Rudy Lupinski Clever and really enjoyable. 5 stars
5/24/01 W.P.G. It was great! 5 stars
5/08/01 jon graham Best film I've seen in years and the music is addictive. Don't miss it on the big screen !! 5 stars
5/07/01 Mikko Salminen Enjoyable, but not amazing in any way. 3 stars
5/06/01 Roy Smith This movie is proff the Coen Brothers signed a pact with the Devil. 1 stars
4/14/01 Blacker than You Good soundtrack 4 stars
4/06/01 Peeters Valentijn Brothers C rule 5 stars
4/02/01 Maja Fantastic !!! 5 stars
3/26/01 Lim Unn How Meaningful! 5 stars
3/23/01 Kyra J. what can i say, damn, we're in a tight spot for not getting this soundtrack yet 5 stars
3/23/01 JB It cute and funny and sometimes hardcore. 4 stars
3/20/01 vpitman I'm a Coen Bros. fan, but my wife isn't, and we both thought it was great. 5 stars
3/15/01 Big John Holmes A picture that doesn't insult the intelligence or imagination of the viewer. 5 stars
3/09/01 Josue The Insultor This was a superb film. 5 stars
3/08/01 Emily It was very random, but that's what made it so hilarious. Geroge is the best part.mmm.sexy! 5 stars
3/07/01 hum best i have seen for some time for so many reasons 5 stars
3/07/01 Soggy Bottom I havent laughed so hard at a movie in ages one of the coens best 5 stars
2/27/01 Monika Frisby Awesome, very funny 5 stars
2/22/01 weird andy A hoot and a half! 4 stars
2/22/01 sjc two thumbs way way up 5 stars
2/21/01 HughK A charming movie, reminds me a little of the Big Lebowski, but even more episodic! 4 stars
2/20/01 Christopher Novak Best movie in the trailing twelve months 5 stars
2/20/01 Roy Smith I hopw there is a God because now I believe in the Devil 1 stars
2/18/01 dan coen-eriffic 5 stars
2/15/01 www.robotocracy.com The smartest, funniest, most thoroughly enjoyable movie I have seen in a long time. 5 stars
2/14/01 J SOLO A CLASSIC THAT COULD BE A CULT FAVORITE. 4 stars
2/13/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi I was sorry when it ended. 5 stars
2/12/01 Brian Genius. Coens' most entertaining film to date. Much better than TBL. We're in a tight spot! 5 stars
2/08/01 ObiWan Not the normal Coen Bro. stuff, but very entertaining. One of the year's best. 5 stars
2/06/01 Frog-Butt Absolutely Genius, Brilliant, and.... Well there be frogs in there :-) 5 stars
2/06/01 Wafer This movie just makes you feel good watching it 5 stars
2/05/01 neil bartlett Refreshing change from most Hollywood crap. Clooney surprisingly good 4 stars
2/04/01 Mike Goodpaster Fantastic. The music was great and so was the show. Hollywood needs more of this. 5 stars
2/03/01 Ericka Lindstrom I'm going to have to read Homer's Odyssey. This movie didn't make any sense to me. 3 stars
2/03/01 john d(THE DUDE) The Coen bros, are movie making gods but it's going to be hard to top THE BIG LEBOWSKI 3 stars
1/31/01 Soggy Bottom Bitch George Clooney, his hair and the double-takes were hilarious, & the music worth downloading 5 stars
1/31/01 Ludolecorse The Apology of freedom 5 stars
1/30/01 Marie This film is so kick ass!! No wonder George Clooney won the Golden Globe for this!!! 5 stars
1/28/01 skye ah'm with you fellers 5 stars
1/28/01 R Kramer This was not Clooney's finest. 3 stars
1/25/01 Kirsten Appreciated it on an intellectual level. Didn't make me laugh out loud, though. 4 stars
1/23/01 Soggy Bottom Boy This is by far my favorite Coen Brothers flic, finally over-throwing Barton Fink! 5 stars
1/23/01 Peter Burris superb romp through meshed iconography! 5 stars
1/23/01 Peter Smith STUNNING! 5 stars
1/22/01 Coen fan Fan-fucking-tastic! 5 stars
1/22/01 MC Cheese The music really makes it! A feel good Coen movie! 5 stars
1/18/01 Thor-Leo Weakest Coen Bros. film yet. Clever dialog but a very long setup for a meager payoff. 3 stars
1/18/01 loser funny saw it 3 times 5 stars
1/18/01 Heather Original, quirky movie, loved the music and cinematography. 5 stars
1/17/01 Dee Please, go and see this film 5 stars
1/16/01 Kip George Clooney is great.. definately a good movie. 5 stars
1/14/01 Phil Some people wont get it, other say it's awesome! 5 stars
1/10/01 Ida Kern Clooney is great in this! A musical and a comedy all rolled in one. 4 stars
1/10/01 Blubberbot me like 5 stars
1/03/01 tnt Boring..painful...and pointless...worst movie Ever!!! 1 stars
1/03/01 Mr. X Funny! Great music! Loved it! 5 stars
12/30/00 frankko dialogue, music, cinematography... all perfect 5 stars
12/29/00 matthew smith quirky and strange, but worth a look 4 stars
12/29/00 El_Duderino Can the Coens ever do wrong?? Seems unlikely. 5 stars
12/15/00 Lorenza Venturi Intelligent, ironic, great music 5 stars
12/13/00 Mr. ZmoXz Great characters!!! 4 stars
12/12/00 cooljo coooooooolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/02/00 Sebastian Corral This movie is the best comedy I've ever seen! 5 stars
11/03/00 Maria Dolores Valdivia Armental The best film this year, great. 5 stars
10/26/00 Sven Siegle Easy, cool, funny, fantastic! 5 stars
10/26/00 Jens A. Czaplo ... great pictures, great music 5 stars
10/26/00 Schmitt Dirk ... best Odysse in an movie I mind 5 stars
9/26/00 Robin Cooper If you liked The Big Lebowski.... you'll love this 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  12-Jan-2001 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Dec-2000 (M)




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