For all its ambitions, though, the Coens' odyssey is a scattershot affair with too many tricks and twists for its own good.
Stream O Brother, Where Art Thou?
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
The art direction is impeccable, but this is a pop-up book that I was impatient to slam.
After making their two best features to date, "Fargo" and "The Big Lebowski," the Coen brothers have surely come up with their worst.
Enlivening things to an unprecedented extent, the songs turn O Brother into perhaps the warmest production in the Coens' repertoire.
A remarkable film. From its performances on down to director of photography Roger Deakins' sun-baked, dirty-ochre cinematography, the film is all of a piece.
Of all unlikely possibilities, the team has finally made a movie that, for them, is on the tepid side.
Why would filmmakers with this much talent work this hard to thumb their noses at everything they put on screen?
It's a wild, whacked-out wonder. Coenheads rejoice.
Remains naggingly hollow, a cerebral exercise in whimsy that isn't nearly clever or funny enough to seem like more than grand self-indulgence.
All I can say is this particular excursion into screwball madness is often heavenly, and frankly leaves critical explication somewhat unnecessary. Go see it and laugh.