Forgiveness in Film ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’ Analytical Essay

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In the opening scene of “O Brother Where Art Thou?” just after escaping a chain gang, there are three prisoners running towards a railroad track in the open field in Mississippi, still in their old style black and white jumpsuits and shackles tied to each other. Right off the back, we can tell it’s going to be quite an adventure/comedy movie that takes place during the Great Depression. Since its going to take place around that time period I believe there are a couple of things that are critical to make this a good film. The plot is going to have to match the time period they are trying to portray, the film should have a theme, and the actors must get into character and fit into the setting.

“O Brother Where Art Thou” was released in 2000. Starring in this adventure, comedy, crime and musical movie is George Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson, and John Turturro. This film is written, produced and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen (The Coen brothers). The film was set in 1937 in Mississippi during the Great Depression era. Three convicts, Ulysses Everett McGill, Pete Hogwallop, and Delmar O’Donnell escape from a chain gang and set out on an adventure to recover an alleged fortune Everett covered, before its area is overflowed to make a lake and give power to the state. Unfortunately, the other two convicts, Pete Hogwallop, and Delmar O’Donnell, were unaware that the fortune they were after was nonexistent. The only thing Ulysses Everett McGill was after was stopping his ex-wife, Penny, from remarrying and taking his children.

The film was set in 1937 during the Great Depression. The setting, clothing, style and accent they were trying to portray was great. O Brother, “Where Art Thou?” didn’t look just to the past for inspiration. It set the standard in filmmaking as one of a significant Hollywood films to utilize filtering techniques so as to give the film its particular vintage/old style look. Along with the filtering techniques comes along the proper styling needed to bring back the Great

Depression onto the big screen. This benefits the film by making the viewers feel like they’re in that time period and understand when it is taking place. Visual is an important element in making a great film. The visuals should enable the crowd to feel what the character feels.
The theme of this film seems to revolve a lot around forgiveness. It begins with two of the three inmates seeking for forgiveness of their sins from God and wanting to get baptized in the river. While Everett does not seek forgiveness from God, he seeks forgiveness from his ex-wife Penny from all the mistakes he has done.

Everett request forgiveness from his two companions for lying to them about a fortune that never existed. When the inmates perform as “The Soggy Bottom Boys” at an event, Pappy apologizes and forgives the inmates for their sins. Before the inmates are hung by Everett’s cabin, Everett then finally seeks forgiveness from God and begins to pray right before the overflow of water hit them. Another major theme that is not mentioned a lot in the film is the concept of music. Although, not mentioned, music plays an important role in the setting of the film.

Music seems to bring everyone together no matter the situation. As if it motivates people to stay positive when times get rough during the Great Depression. Although, music was also used in the film by three young women bathing in the river to lure the three convicts into drinking corn liquor until they were unconscious. The soundtracks in the movie ties in with the religion and political theme in the movie.

Politics and religion also seem to be a big part of this film. Involving the Ku Klux Klan, God, a political campaign and multiple businessmen. Themes benefits the movie by keeping the audience focused on a specific aspect and makes the plot easily visible for the audience. The entire film was a great adventure movie in my opinion where three men seek for treasure that was never there.

Being a good actor is an important element for a good movie. Acting is the first thing viewers see in a movie. Getting into character can be a difficult thing to do. In this case, Clooney, had to study the Southern accent used in this film. You can imagine how difficult it can be. Getting good actors who take their role seriously and lived as the character benefited the movie and it’s setting. The cast did very well getting into character and fitting into the setting in which this film was taking place. Great acting is what gets the message as written on the script to the viewers.

This film exceeds the criteria to be a good film. The theme, acting, and the time period being portrayed is accurate. This film has enough comedy scenes to keep the viewers constantly laughing, and enough action and adventurous scenes to keep the viewers in suspense. I don’t have anything negative to say about this film and would recommend this movie to anyone who is into action and comedy movies that send a positive message to the audience.


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Forgiveness in Film ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’ Analytical Essay. (2020, Sep 10). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/forgiveness-in-film-o-brother-where-art-thou/



when is oh brother where art thou set?
Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? is set in the 1930s during the Great Depression in Mississippi.
where is o brother where art thou set?
The film is set in the rural American South during the Great Depression.
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