Movie of the Day – O Brother, Where Art Thou?

I wanted to write about a movie that was not only a unique retelling of a centuries old story, but also has a rather catchy soundtrack.  Alright, it’s really about the soundtrack, the retelling of an old story is just a bonus, but how can you deny the charm that O Brother, Where Art Thou?  One of my favorite Coen Brothers film, they were able to take an old tale of Homer’s Odyssey and place it during the 1930’s around the time of the Great Depression.  The film follows the travels of 3 brothers who escaped from a chain gang and set out to retrieve some stolen cash that was hidden before their incarceration.

The story is interesting as it takes certain scenes from the Odyssey and puts a spin on it.  The characters are fascinating and each have a unique story to their character and I love how the Coen’s have cast each role perfectly.  You have George Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson and John Turturro as the brothers in the movie.  John Goodman as Daniel Teague, the one-eyed thieving bible salesman.

But while I love the movie, I am not much into talking about the characters and story line.  One of the best things about the movie is it’s pioneering use of color correction and the infectious bluegrass soundtrack.  If you have seen the movie, you will notice the color of the movie isn’t what we are accustomed to seeing in most movies.  The Coen’s made a conscious decision to make the look of the movie, match the setting of the movie.  In interviews and behind the scenes shoots, they tinted the color of the movie to make it look sepia in tone.  This gives it a more hand-tinted look where the primary colors look to match the open golden backdrops of the shoot.  Essentially, they took the bright greens of the grass, trees and foliage of the Mississippi setting and skewed them to a more golden color.  It gives this movie a distinct look and old time feel to our viewing pleasure.  It was also the first movie to use digital correcting for the entire movie.  This garnered critical technical acclaim and became a focal point in reviews.

No Color Correction
Sepia Color Correction

Keeping with the period theme of the movie, the soundtrack is rich with period style bluegrass and folk music.  Not only do you get a visual treat with the coloring and effects, but the auditory senses are also taking us into the period of the movie.  I went out and bought the soundtrack as soon as it was available. The main song “Man of Constant Sorrow” was a big hit on and off the screen as well.  It ended gaining a CMA “song of the year” award and while the soundtrack gained critical claim for it use of the macabre style of folk music, one that focuses on the lonely side of life and death that awaits us all.

If you have never seen the movie, this is a one hell of a treat.  The visuals are gorgeous and there are very little special effects to detract from the movie.  The soundtrack is one of the best I have heard in a long time and you will find yourself kind of humming along with the tune of the Soggy Bottom Boys and their tour de force across the states, singing their folk songs.  This is one of the more interesting Coen Brothers film and must be seen by those who want a little more folk in their life.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

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