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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 PyThomas

"We thought you was a toad."
5 stars

It's not often that a film comes out whose soundtrack not only becomes wildly popular but also makes a lasting impression on the music scene.

Take "Urban Cowboy": In 1980 the film did pretty good at the box office, and the soundtrack defined the country music sound of the moment, as well as made a household name out of Charlie Daniels. "Purple Rain" went multi-platinum in 1984 and not only introduced a sexy new electrofunk-and-rock hybrid to the world of R&B, but for a brief moment, men could wear frilly shirts and lots of lace and not be considered gay.

Fast-forward to the year 2000: The pop-country world has grown terribly stale and predictable. Some acts have resorted to using hip-hop beats and drum machines. Country traditionalists are all but convinced the genre has lost its soul. Then at the end of the year, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" landed in theaters, with a soundtrack that vividly replicated the folk, blues and bluegrass music of the 1930s, with not a synthesizer or a remix version in sight. This soundtrack sold millions upon millions of CDs, entrenched itself at the top of the Billboard country charts for months on end, and raked in the Grammys, effectively giving the Nashville music machine a brutal kick in the ass. All of a sudden, country superstars like the Dixie Chicks and Tim McGraw were free to go back to country's roots and make old-timey music smothered in banjos and mandolins, like their grandfathers used to make... and still stay popular and relevant.

But back to the film. After all, this isn't "Nashville Bitchslap". (Or "eCountry Critic.")

What the Coen brothers set out to do was make an early-twentieth-century version of the ancient Greek epic "The Odyssey". For those of you who think the Odyssey is an antiquated video game system or a song by the band Orgy, what we're talking about here is a time-honored tale about a Greek soldier who gets in all sorts of adventures while trying to get home from a ferocious war, only to find his wife has gone off and married someone new.

Here in 1935 Mississippi, the story centers around Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney, looking like a cross between Clark Gable and Tom Selleck), Pete (John Turturro) and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson), three members of a prison chain gang... or should I say EX-members, as the film opens with them breaking free and seeking refuge. Ulysses ultimately wants to get back to his homestead and dig up some "buried treasure" before it's flooded by a man-made lake. Along the way they encounter a young black bluesman named Tommy Johnson (Chris Thomas King), who joins them briefly as they venture to a radio station out in the middle of nowhere. This station gives cash to musicians who can record a good tune, and so the four of them, calling themselves the "Soggy Bottom Boys", do a little number and make off with the money. This simple little song ultimately proves to be their saving grace later on in the story.

Other people the three fugitives encounter are: three bathing beauties (well, beautiful for the 1930s, anyway) who seduce them to the point of passing out; a riverside church baptismal service that borders on the surreal; Big Dan Teague, a one-eyed mugger posing as a Christian evangelist (John Goodman); the governor of Mississippi, biscuit magnate Pappy O'Daniel (Charles Durning) relentlessly seeking re-election with his campaign team; his chief opponent, Homer Stokes (Wayne Duvall), who has a shady second life; George "Babyface" Nelson (Michael Badalucco), a freewheeling (and bipolar) mobster who is happily robbing banks one minute and dumping the money in a zombie state the next; a menacing-looking Ku Klux Klan rally about to lynch their friend Tommy; and ultimately they meet up with Ulysses' three daughters and estranged wife, Penelope (Holly Hunter), who has since divorced him and got engaged to another man. ("He's a suitor", the daughters keep piping.) This man, Vernon T. Waldrip (Ray McKinnon), also happens to be a campaign manager for Homer Stokes. All the while a group of rogue marshals are hot on the tail of the wayward threesome, led by Sheriff Cooley (Daniel von Bargen), a mysterious man in dark glasses.

Watching this film, you can clearly see that extra special care was taken by the Coens to capture the folksy, stark atmosphere of the Depression era, right down to the early-cinema style of the opening & closing credits. A superb acting job is done by all - it's near impossible to catch anybody slipping out of the deep Southern accents their roles require. The dominant hue here is the muted yellow of the dusty roads, nighttime campfires and endless fields of grain. The music, as mentioned above, is the authentic sounds of the era - no padding the film with modern-day popular hits here (*coughKnight'sTalecough*) - and it greatly enhances the entire ambience of the story.

"O Brother" is indeed a loose retelling of "The Odyssey", and some tweaking is done with some of the historical figures in the story, but overall it's a marvelous film that makes the most of its Southern flavor. Who knew that 1930s Mississippi life and ancient Greek pathos would go so well together?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1828&reviewer=9
originally posted: 12/31/02 14:52:08
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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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