O Brother, Where Art Thou? is the name of the film which was to be made in Sullivan’s Travels, a film about a film producer’s discovery that humor is the delight of the common man’s plight. In typical Coen brother fashion, Joel and Ethan provide us with a film that plays on this notion along with the declaration that it was also loosely based on a classic poem that both claimed never to have read. This is just part of the brilliant madness that is the Coen brothers, and O Brother, Where Are Thou? was yet another boost in their ability to sell a film mainstream. From the soundtrack to the cast, this film was a hit that just kept growing with word of mouth.
The film begins with an escape from a chain gang in
. Silver-tongued Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney) is the mastermind of the escape, planning to find a way back to his wife (Holly Hunter) and children. The problem is that he finds himself still shackled to the other two prisoners, ill-tempered Pete (John Turturro) and the mild-mannered idiot Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson). Depression-era Mississippi
Just as the journey was for Ulysses, these three find themselves facing obstacles and speed bumps all along the way. They meet some interesting characters, such as a gangster with a baby face and a one-eyed bible salesman, not to mention the sirens in the form of three sexy singing women by the river. Each takes a liberty with the original story, but it works on a whole new level that is both quirky and intelligent.
Available on Blu-ray for the first time, the highlight is having the soundtrack in high definition sound. The special features include a making-of featurette, as well as a storyboard-to-scene comparison and a music video. These were all previously released on the DVD version.