Although I like quirky movies, the Coen brothers never did much for me. Their stuff always seemed like it was trying a little too hard to be quirky. A lot of folks have fallen in love with all their movies, and I wondered if it would ever happen to me.
It did, with Oh Brother Where Art Thou. Filmed in warm sepia tones, Oh Brother overlays Homer's "The Odyssey" on the top of a story about a con man who breaks out of prison along with two friends and heads out to find his fortune. His fortune, he claims, is buried on property that is due to be flooded when a new dam is put in place, so there's not much time to get there.
The three have all kinds of Homeresque adventures along the way, including an encounter with a Cyclops (John Goodman), and singing sirens. As they get closer and closer to the elusive treasure they get into deeper and deeper trouble, until it appears there's nothing they can do to redeem themselves.
The music is not just a background ornament, but woven into the story line. If you're a fan of old-timey music you'll love this movie. If you're not a fan, you may become one. And the song of the Sirens (while not old timey) is enough to melt the heart of any man.
© 2002 Dave Hitt