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  • 12
  • Adventure, Comedy
  • 2000
  • 107 mins

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Film4 O Brother, Where Art Thou?


The Coen brothers set Homer in the Deep South during the Depression. A working men's saga featuring a blind seer, a one eyed con artist, sirens, a beat-up truck and a cow-hating armed robber


Homer, as far as we know, wasn't famous for his comedy. Nor were most of the people who have been inspired by his 'Odyssey' - James Joyce, the Frenchmen who made the sci-fi cartoon 'Ulysses 31'. But the Coen brothers are. They've taken the basic plot points and characters from Homer's epic, set them in the Deep South during the Depression, and borrowed the title that a pretentious director was going to use for his working man's saga in Preston Sturges's classic comedy Sullivan's Travels.

On the run from the chain gang, Everett Ulysses McGill (Clooney), Pete Hogwallop (Turturro) and Delmar O'Donnel (Nelson) encounter a blind seer, who tells them they will find a fortune, but not the one they are after. On the run from the law and constantly bickering, the trio encounter Homeric figures like the sirens and a one-eyed man. They also bump into a bluesman who has sold his soul to the devil (King), bank robber George "Don't call me Babyface" Nelson (Badalucco) and the Ku Klux Klan.

The comedy is all in the details - McGill's odd grin or his insistence that he can only use Dapper Dan brand hair products. Turturro is funny, while John Goodman produces one of his most menacing performances. Then there is the music: a fine soundtrack of country, blues and gospel songs. There is even a bit of politics in there, although with the Coens, it is probably best not to take anything too seriously. Well up to the usual high standards.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: John Goodman, Charles Thomas King, Charles Durning, John Turturro, Holly Hunter, Michael Badalucco, George Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson
  • Director: Joel Coen
  • Screen Writer: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  • Writer (Book): Homer
  • Producer: Ethan Coen
  • Photographer: Roger Deakins
  • Composer: Carter Burwell, Chris Thomas King, T- Bone Burnett

In a nutshell

Well up to the brothers' usual high standards.

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