O Brother, Where Art Thou? | Chicago Reader

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

After making what are still probably their two best features—Fargo and The Big Lebowski—the Coen brothers came up with their worst (2000), a piece of pop nihilism about three convicts (George Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson, and John Turturro) on the run. Fargo dealt with their home state (Minnesota) and the present and Lebowski with LA at the time of the gulf war. But when it comes to Mississippi and the Depression, the Coens are so contemptuous they can't even come up with characters. What they really seem to care about are yuppie collectibles, like Robert Johnson albums. A movie's in trouble when its best sequence is a whimsical musical number featuring the Ku Klux Klan—which the Coens seem to regard as yet another antique. With John Goodman, Holly Hunter, and Charles Durning.

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