O Brother, Where Art Thou? Blu-ray review

            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 Depression-era Mississippi. 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).

            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.  

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