O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000): An Underrated Gem

O Brother Where Art Thou 2000 Movie Poster
 

 

Director:

 

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

 

Trailer:

 

 

Synopsis:

 

In the Deep South during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.

 

Review:

 

Having given the world such classics as Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), No Country For Old Men (2007), True Grit (2010), and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen managed to firmly solidify their place in cinema history as one of its most notable and creative directing masters. However, as with many other notable directors, a few of their masterpieces seem to have gone by the way side, forgotten by most film lovers. One such film is their magnificent 2000 motion picture, O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The movie is a signature Coen brothers production as it features the perfect fusion of comedy and drama, driven by an energetic script that makes every spoken word exciting. This effortless and mesmerizing piece of cinema is given further power by a trio of outstanding performances provided by George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson. Clooney (Everett McGill) gives what is perhaps his finest comedic act in his eclectic career. While Turturro, a mainstay figure in multiple Coen films, continues to prove that he is a fine character actor as he seamlessly inhabits the role of Pete Hogwallop, providing the film with most of its funny and heartfelt scenes. The acting trifecta is completed by Tim Blake Nelson (Delmar O'Donnell) who shows how to depict a mentally-challenged man in a caring, respectful, and loving manner that draws audiences closer to him, not away. There is also the music in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which is composed by the superb T Bone Burnett (Inside Llewyn Davis), another frequent Coen brothers collaborator, that breathes life into every scene. That is all without forgetting the film's gorgeous cinematography, taken by the legend Roger Deakins (The Shawshank Redemption, Skyfall), that captures the imagination of viewers, easily suspending their belief.

But, it is ultimately Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's distinctive ability to merge all of these elements together that results in a fascinating and unforgettable cinematic adventure that elevates O Brother, Where Art Thou? to greatness, making it a criminally-underrated gem of a film that begs to be visited by everyone.

 

Outstanding Performances:

 

  • George Clooney (as Everett McGill)
  • John Turturro (as Pete Hogwallop)
  • Tim Blake Nelson (as Delmar O'Donnell)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 46 minutes

 

Rating:

 

PG-13

 

Genres:

 

Comedy / Crime

 

Stills:

 

O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 1
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 2
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 3
O Brother Where Art Thou Cinematography Roger Deakins
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 4
O Brother Where Art Thou Cinematography Scene 2
O Brother Where Art Thou George Clooney John Turturro Tim Blake Nelson Scene 5
O Brother Where Art Thou Cinematography Scene 3

 

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In Bruges (2008): An Underrated Gem

In Bruges Movie Poster
 

 

Director:

 

Martin McDonagh

 

Trailer:

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.

 

My review:

 

I have to admit that when it comes to Colin Farrell, I have been quite disappointed by his overall selection of film roles as they have failed to make use of his unique charisma in a way that should have produced long-lasting and memorable performances. However, in Martin McDonagh's In Bruges, he defies such low expectations and delivers what is perhaps his career-best performance. As the reluctant and shaky hitman Ray, Colin Farrell manages to connect with audiences from the get-go, showing Ray as a tormented criminal who has done a terrible mistake that deeply haunts him psychologically. What makes Colin impressive in the film is how natural his performance is; there is no hint of pretentiousness and arrogance in his character but instead a lot of warmth and humor, giving us a fully-dimensional character. He is joined on screen by Brendan Gleeson, who plays Ray's partner-in-crime and veteran hitman Ken. As with Farrell, Gleeson manages to be lovable as he steals every scene he is in, striking a winning partnership with Colin Farrell that is among the many reasons why In Bruges is such a delight to watch. But, if I were to choose one major aspect of the film's effectiveness it would have to be its setting, the city of Bruges, Belgium, the quiet and small town these two characters seek refuge to in order to avoid suspicion from the authority after a murder attempt goes awfully wrong. Through his calm, assured, and confident directing style, Martin McDonagh's camera allows the film to flow without a single hitch, resulting in quite the pleasant experience. The film might have been overlooked during its release due to Colin Farrell's dreadful track record but it does more than enough in the acting, writing, and directing departments to warrant special attention, in my eyes. Suffice to say, In Bruges is most definitely an underrated gem which almost all film-lovers will greatly enjoy.

 

Outstanding Performances:

 

  • Colin Farrell (as Ray)
  • Ralph Fiennes (as Harry)
  • Brendan Gleeson (as Ken)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 47 minutes

 

Rating:

 

R

 

Genres:

 

Comedy / Crime / Drama

 

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007): An Underrated Gem

 
Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Movie Poster

 

Director:

 

Tim Burton

 

Trailer:

 

 

Synopsis:

 

The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical.

 

My review:

 

Musicals have long been one of my favorite film genres. With classics like Singin' in the Rain (1952), The Sound of Music (1965), and Mary Poppins (1964) just a few of those movies that have redefined the genre and provided audiences with countless magical moments. The crop of musical films in the last two decades proved to be a mixed bag with only a handful achieving greatness. One of those motion pictures is undoubtedly Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The film is yet another collaboration between Tim Burton and his muse, cinema's chameleon, Johnny Depp. Here, Depp assumes the role of Sweeney Todd, the talented barber who is on a mission to avenge those who have wronged him and his loved ones. Playing the role of Todd's confidante and friend, Mrs. Lovett, Helena Bonham Carter gives yet another memorable performance that easily ranks amongst her best ever roles. The story of the film is set in London during the Victorian era which fits perfectly with Burton's deep fascination with gothic themes and ideas. The result is a visually stunning piece of cinema that superbly showcases the brilliant and witty musical scenes. It remains a mystery to me why such a well-made film seems to be forgotten by many. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is without a doubt an underrated gem.

 

Outstanding performances:

 

  • Johnny Depp (as Sweeney Todd)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (as Mrs. Lovett)

 

Runtime:

 

1 hour and 56 minutes

 

Rating:

 

R

 

Genres:

 

Drama / Horror / Musical

 

Minority Report (2002): An Underrated Gem

 



Minority Report Movie Poster

 

Director:

 

Steven Spielberg

 

Trailer:

 

 

Synopsis:

 

In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder.

 

My review:

 

The first decade of the 21st century has seen a remarkable number of science-fiction motion pictures that challenged and intrigued audiences, chiefly among them being Minority Report. Directed by the visionary Steven Spielberg, considered one of cinema's greatest directors of all time, the film is a thought-provoking piece that explores a world in which criminals are caught before they even think of committing the crime. Spielberg's casting of Tom Cruise as the lead character, Chief John Anderton, is spot-on with Cruise able to give one of his best performances. But, it is the film's greater look at how science will affect lives and crime that interests me the most. Spielberg uses the dynamic action and beautiful visuals to comment on a possible future in which technology plays a much bigger part than it should, resulting in disrupted and damaged lives. Working with his longtime collaborator Janusz Kaminski, Spielberg also gives the film a unique look that grips our attention from the first to last frame. Simply put, Minority Report is a smart and intelligent underrated gem of a movie that blends action, suspense, and science-fiction into a remarkable blend, giving viewers a film they will not soon forget.

 

Outstanding performances:

 

  • Tom Cruise (as Chief John Anderton)
  • Max von Sydow (as Director Lamar Burgess)

 

Runtime:

 

2 hours and 25 minutes

 

Rating:

 

PG-13

 

Genres:

 

Action / Mystery / Sci-Fi

 

The Mist (2007): An Underrated Gem



The Mist Movie Poster

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House of Sand and Fog (2003): An Underrated Gem



House of Sand and Fog Movie Poster
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