Must see films: O Brother and Snatch

This weekend I saw two new films, Snatch and the O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Although not everyone I was with was unanimous in their love of Snatch (I loved it), O Brother was wildly popular among the audience and us, and if it hadn’t been such a conservative audience, would have received a standing ovation.

Snatch is the latest film from director Guy Ritchie who released Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels last year. Continuing in the genre of cockney-gangster that Ritchie has down pat, the film introduces an extremely long list of villainous characters, who all intersect in the pursuit of an 80+ carat diamond which has been stolen in Russia by Benecio del Toro disguised as an Orthodox Jewish diamond merchant.

Snatch isn’t a lot different in style than Ritchie’s last film, so if you have seen it, you already know if you want to see Snatch. The bright spot of the film is Brad Pitt, who plays a gypsy boxer named “Mickey the Piker”. Pitt’s dialect throughout the movie is almost entirely unintelligible, even to the other Brits, and hysterical to the point of crying laughter. If you enjoy gangster movies, you’ll love Snatch.

O Brother
O Brother, Where Art Thou? is the latest from the Coen Brothers, most famous for their darkly comic film Fargo. The films sets the plot of Homer’s The Odyssey in Depression-era Mississippi. The plot focuses around three convicts working on a chain gang. The leader, played by George Clooney, leads a prison break with two of his cohorts and they attempt to cross Mississippi, evading the persistant marshals who would rather hang than capture the fugitives. Dealing with con men, bank robbers, sirens, and other threats that come straight out of the Odyssey.

I’ll admit it, I heard the music on the trailer for the movie and knew right then I would have to go see it. T-Bone Burnett arranged the soundtrack and did an amazing job. What’s more, the movie is practically a musical, given the integral part the soundtrack plays in the plot. If you just tap your foot and enjoy the music and don’t actually listen to the lyrics, you’ll miss out on an important part of the movie.

I knew when I saw the movie that it will surpass Fargo in enhancing the Coen brothers reputation and I’ll probably go back and see it after brushing up on Homer’s Odyssey. I suspect that I overlooked a lot of details given my light knowledge of Homer’s story, and being a trivia buff, the Coen brothers probably buried a few subtle jokes that most people will gloss over.