Brothers’ odyssey

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Chocolat (2000), directed by Lasse Hallström

Joel and Ethan Coen came up with a strange concept for O Brother, Where Art Thou?: they took major elements of Homer's Odyssey and set them in the Depression-era South. George Clooney's character is named Ulysses, the cyclops is represented by a Bible salesman with a patch over one eye, a blind seer comes along on a handcar, and of course, there are three bathing sirens.

Like the Odyssey, the film is episodic. A flimsy plot is used to hang together ten- to 15-minute stories that are for the most part dropped as soon as they are finished. This style can make for a compelling film (like last year's Jesus' Son), but the individual stories must be powerful. In O Brother, the odds of that are about even.


This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $2.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.

This article is available to subscribers only.

To post a comment, log inregister, or use the Facebook comment box.