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Thursday April 17, 2014
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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

 

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Clooney's trademark Gable-esque seductive star power is juxtaposed with his surprisingly perfect comic timing. A fight scene with his ex-wife's suitor is vaudevillian and brilliant. John Turturro delivers boiling-point fits of physical comedy similar to what he provided as Jesus in The Big Lebowski. And Tim Blake Nelson's Delmar has more dignity and innocence than any other backwoods Billy I've ever seen. (Believe me, I've known my share.) Everett may be leading the group, and Pete can be overbearing and mean, but it's Delmar who talks down a ten-year-old who takes shots at them with a gun twice his size 'cause his pa told him to shoot anyone serving papers from the bank.

The Coens use a languid cinematography shot with faded sepia colors. The effect steeps the viewer in the culture and climate of the Deep South. Everything looks miserably sun-washed and dirt poor. And nearly every scene is accompanied by soulful, compelling blues, spirituals, bluegrass, and mountain music — old-time songs to salve the soul. It's a remembrance of what music used to be — an expression of life.

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