Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What's On Netflix?: O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?

Welcome to another installment of WHAT'S ON NETFLIX?, where we pick out a film or series currently playing on Netflix and review it for the fans.  This week we take a look at one of the many classic films under the Coen brothers belt, O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU.

O Brother, Where Art Thou follows the story of three escaped convicts searching for a hidden treasure in the 1930's while being chased by a group of relentless lawmen. The three convicts travel across Mississippi in search for this treasure that will manage to make the three of them rich beyond their wildest dreams.

This is another masterful piece of cinema thrown among the wildly entertaining and masterful filmography of the Coen's. Released in 2000, a year filled to the brim with wonderful pieces of cinema, O Brother, Where Art Thou is no different, managing to mix comedy and intellect making for a crescendo of entertainment.

The first, and most potent strength the film possesses is the acting and the writing. The trio of the convicts is quite possibly one of the best team-ups in term of actors, with tip of the A-List George Clooney, small time actor Tim Blake Nelson, and frequent collaborator of the Coen's, John Turturro. The three "no do gooders" manage to create a comedic yet quite serious vibe to the entire film. One thing that sets this on screen team apart from others is that each character possesses a radically different yet specific personality. Clooney is the leader and, while slightly delusional, he still manages to have the clearest and most level head of the group. Nelson fills the "youngest brother" role. With a stroke of innocence held upon him, he manages to let certain things go unnoticed along with making keen observations several minutes after the others have made them. And Turturro fills the kind of quiet and mysterious one of the group acting as almost the muscle. Bringing a very determined mindset to finding the treasure, Turturro once again fills some heavy shoes after delivering excellent performances in previous Coen films.

Another thing that helps improve the quality of Coen films is the frequent collaboration of cinematographer Roger Deakins. Deakins takes a bit more of an unconventional approach to the duties of cinematography due to his years working on documentary films. However, this possibly gives Deakins and the Coens an advantage over the competition. With a clearly unique lighting style established, Deakins assists in helping tell the story. For example, he likes to frame wide with a wide angel lens versus shooting wide on a telephoto lens like say the work of Michael Bay or Paul . Another thing that Deakins and the Coens like to do is film conversations from within the space of the conversation. Versus a fly on the wall style established as the conventional way of making films, these dynamic collaborators manage to bring a different feeling to their films. Instead of giving the audience a feeling of spying, they like to immerse the audience even further. Suspending their disbelief even further if you will. And this is no different in O Brother, Where Art Thou. Deakins masterfully recreates the south in the 30's at the brilliant direction of the Coens.

O Brother, Where Art Thou is another wonderfully crafted film delivered by the masterful Coens. They create a specific world to immerse their audience by taking a completely different approach to an already conventional style. The Coen's do not necessarily do anything ground breaking, they just take the language that is already there, and put a small twist on it. Giving us everything we need in order for them to create classical pieces of cinema.

Joshua's Score: 8/10

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