‘O, Brother Where Art Thou’ Hilarious Odyssey Through 1930s Mississippi

Movie poster for ‘O, Brother, Where Art Thou?’ Courtesy/rottentomatoes.com

Review by KELLY DOLEJSI

Always wondered what the devil looks like? What fraction of a roasted gopher would be required to completely bed down a man’s appetite? Look no further than your local public library, where “O, Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000, PG-13) will screen at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, in the upstairs meeting-room “theater.”

Joel and Ethan Coen’s take on Homer’s “Odyssey” reimagines the classic tale as it might have occurred in 1930s Mississippi. Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), Pete Hogwallop (John Turturro), and Delmar O’Donnell (Tim Blake Nelson) escape from a chain gang to begin a quest for treasure.

Along their way, they receive counsel from a blind prophet who tells them they will see a cow “on the roof of a cotton house.” They happen upon a picturesque baptism in a scene that might allude to the Lotus Eaters in “Odyssey,” a group that invites travelers to eat lotus leaves that cause them to forget just about everything. They meet a one-eyed Bible bully, a trio of river vixens, a baby-faced bank robber, and a man who sold his soul to the devil because, as he says, “I wasn’t usin’ it.”

They sing into a can. They eat rodents. They eat horse. They go through a lot of hair jelly.

I have loved this movie for a long time. I’m not a huge Homer fan, and I don’t particularly like films about jailbreaks, even if there are several close-ups of bloodhounds. This is just really funny. And really pretty (the film is digitally color-corrected). And especially lovely to listen to (the soundtrack is perfect).

So here’s your chance to R-U-N-N-O-F-T. Escape whatever devils are keeping you away from the library. You don’t even have to unstow your foldin’ money because “O Brother Where Art Thou” is offered as part of the Free Film Series, which presents a free movie the first Thursday of nearly every month.

Rounding out the series’ autumn season will “Lonely Are the Brave” Nov. 6, and “Baghdad Café” Dec. 4. The Free Film Series is supported by the Friends of Los Alamos County Libraries.

For more information, call the library at 505.662.8240.

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