There are just some movies that when they are on TV, regardless of when you get to the film, you have to stop and watch. Over the weekend two such movies (and there are many), were on so it ate up a good portion of my Saturday and Sunday afternoons. I will address "Rounders" at another time, but this post is all about "O Brother, Where Art Thou?". Most people who speak of the Coen Brothers oeuvre tend to focus on "Raising Arizona", "Fargo" or, if they want to appear in the know, the brilliance of "Miller's Crossing". Having not seen "No Country For Old Men" I cannot speak on it's place in their catalogue but I often feel that this Depression era retelling of Homer's "The Odyssey" is far and away their best work. It is the perfect mix of comedy, drama and fantasy that highlights the Brothers' sense of timing and pacing in the writing and directing. It is also a cut above their other work because it seemlessly captures the time and place of the Depression through music and visuals. There is one particular scene that is absolutely riveting. The main band of thieves, having eluded the authorities and now on the lame, set up camp in the woods for the evening. The four men sit around a camp fire as Tommy, the guitar player who sold his soul to the devil, sings a soft bluesy tune as the others sit alone with their thoughts. George Clooney, who is rapidly becoming a real quality actor, protrays the sense of longing for a better life and the utter hopelessness of the Despression without uttering a word. But it's the music that makes the scene. It heightens it to a whole other level. It's always gets to me.
So I can guarantee I will watch it the next time I flip by. Good movies have that effect on us. They always make us stop and check it out.