We watched this while I was visiting my dad. I've never read The Odyssey, but as I understand it you could call this movie, "Homer's Odyssey Using Coen Brothers Characters, Set in the Thirties." It was rather bizarre.
Instead of coming back from war, these guys had escaped from a chain gang. So one of the forces they had to contend with was the cop chasing them through the entire film. I don't know how that translates to the original, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was an analog.
I did recognize the Siren's Song. That one was pretty obvious. There was a prophesy right at the beginning, saying, "You'll find great reward, but not the one you're seeking." I imagine that's probably straight out of the original. And I also suspect the original is a series of episodic adventures. They'd find transportation, and then lose it. They'd find spending money, and then lose it. And so on.
I thought Clooney did a very good job. He didn't play his usual character. Normally he looks at the ground all the time, smirking and looking past people when he talks to them. In this movie he's always upright, wide-eyed and generally speaking right at people. I think his character, while brighter than many Coen characters, was in fact a lot dimmer than his vocabulary made him sound. The rest are, as usual, monumentally gullible. And hilarity ensues.
Let's see, Coen brother regulars include Holly Hunter, John Tuturro and John Goodman. They also had the guy who runs the radio station in the old series News Radio running a radio station in this movie. That was a cute touch, I thought.
As one plot device, the principle characters sing a song to earn a little money. It looked like it was lip-synched. But it was a catchy tune.
I guess since I don't know the original story I don't know what else to say about this movie. It seemed clever and a fun send up of the epic. On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Matinee.
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