'O Brother, Where Art Thou?'

Music is the saving grace of three convicts in ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’

Riddled with symbolic imagery, supernatural encounters and some rockin’ tunes, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000) is an adventurous Coen Brothers epic telling the tale of three runaway convicts in for a unique journey.

The setting is 1930s Mississippi, and three convicts, Everett (George Clooney, “Gravity), Pete (John Turturro, “Transformers”) and Delmar (Tim Black Nelson, “Holes), make a daring break from a railroad-constructin’ chain gang. Everett, chained to the other two runaways, promises them part of a $1.2 million fortune if they can get him home.

Upon escaping, the trio meets a blind fortune teller of sorts who says that on their journey they’ll encounter many obstacles and see a cow on a roof, but won’t find the treasure they have in mind.

Obstacles would be an understatement, as the ex-cons encounter a series of strange encounters including a ethereal mass baptism, hypnotic sirens, a guitarist who sold his soul to the devil, bank robber George “Baby Face” Nelson, nefarious politicians and a KKK lynch mob, to name a few.

The imagery and symbolism in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is strong and it’s there for a reason. The film was inspired by Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey.” The Coen Brothers film is nothing short of an epic as well in its own right.

The Coen Brothers return to the Ashe County Library for a screening of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” at 5 p.m. March 31. Last month, the Deep Focus Film Club at the library featured another Coen Brothers film, “Fargo.” This month’s film is a complete departure from the last, though it is just as adventurous and iconic as the former.

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