There are several parts of this movie so beautifully performed and filmed that I found myself held motionless, breathless like when Pete spots the sirens (three wash maids singing on a riverbank) and the men are overcome by their beauty and song. It's nearly performance art, surreal and simple. And out in the woods, as Delmar offers Everett a barbecued gopher on a stick, they find themselves surrounded by a singing, heavenly congregation on its way to a river baptism. "No, thank you, Delmar," he says. "A third of a gopher would only arouse my appetite without bedding her back down."
The first time I rented this movie, I watched it every night for a week, fixated before my television. After I worked up the courage to confess my adolescent obsession to my sister, she easily shrugged if off. "Oh, it's easy to obsess about," she breezed. Then she quoted Clooney's character: "Besides, it's a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart."
O Brother, Where Art Thou? closes out the 2002 Top of the Park schedule on Sunday, July 7.
[Originally published in July, 2002.]