Wednesday, 25 March 2009

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

2000 - Dir: Joel Cohen
Shown at The FeckenOdeon on 31st January, 2009

Our main feature is set in the same period as Little Caesar but there the similarity ends! It’s a product of the talented and remarkable brothers Coen and is resolutely uncategorisable. A combination of musical, comedy and fantasy, it follows a trio of convicts who escape from a chain gang to find some hidden treasure. Things are never quite what they seem. The film is loosely based on Homer’s 'Odyssey' and as such the boys bump into all manner of folk on their quest, from a one-eyed bible salesman to a campaigning mayoral candidate. The whole thing is immaculately designed and photographed (it won an Oscar for this) in a style designed to give a period feel without actually seeming old fashioned and it’s constantly inventive and original. George Clooney acts his hairnet off in a style that owes more than a little to the young Cary Grant. The music’s great too - Yee haww!!
· Tim Blake Nelson is a film director who was only offered a part because he’s a friend of the Coens - he makes the film as the endlessly thick Delmar.
· The prisoners’ musical chant from the beginning of the movie is an old recording of a real chain-gang.
· The film’s official website ran a trivia contest to promote the film and gave winners canisters of Dapper Dan pomade. (No, you can’t buy it - it’s not a real brand).
· The American Humane Association mistook a computer-generated cow in the movie for a real animal and demanded proof before they would allow the use of their famous disclaimer, "No animals were harmed in the making of this motion picture." After seeing a demonstration of how the cow was created, the Humane Association added "Scenes which may appear to place an animal in jeopardy were simulated."

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