If you’re familiar with Homer’s The Odyssey, you’ll get a kick out of this oddball Coen Brothers movie starring George Clooney as Ulysses Everett McGill. The Coen’s admit that they haven’t actually read The Odyssey, but neither have most people! So it won’t be too much of a buzzkill if the story line deviates quite a bit from that of the book.
I read The Odyssey in high school. Well, it wasn’t my idea. It was a Literature assignment that, quite honestly, put me to sleep on the several nights it took me to get through it.
Anyway, O Brother is much more entertaining than the book. Clooney’s McGill is a hyper-articulate Clark Gable-ish dandy overly preoccupied with the state of his hair. He and his two country bumpkin cohorts, initially and inconveniently chained to each other during their escape, go through adventures that remind Odyssey readers of the adventures Ulysses went through.
I particularly enjoyed the scene with the Sirens, after which Pete is supposedly changed into a horny toad. John Goodman makes an appearance as a one-eyed Bible salesman who plays the role of Odysseus’ Cyclops.
The adventure takes place in Depression-era rural Mississippi, which plays host to several popular song of American folk music, including “Man of Constant Sorrow” and “Big Rock Candy Mountain” while taking mocking jabs at the real problems faced in the rural South of the times, including poverty, racism and the KKK.
The movie is rated PG-13, though there is precious little sex and violence, compared to the Odyssey.
If you’re interested in buying the DVD, Amazon has it here. http://amzn.to/2kwG0Du
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