3.5 stars. My brother is stupid enough that he got in trouble at school for saying "I love the Ku Klux Klan" in reference to 'O Brother'. While this was partly his fault, it was partly the fault of the Coens. Dubious laffs aside this is pretty irresistable goofy fun with a killer soundtrack. Makes it seem as though the Deep South has all the best colours. A deeply weird piece of historical myth-making tomfoolery.
I felt like I was watching a George Clooney demo reel. Characters? Played for laughs, didn't care about any of them. Laughs? Didn't have any. I could tell when I was supposed to be laughing though. Plot? I get it, but what was the point? What ideas were being explored? Music? The music was good.
It can be hard sometimes to determine if the Coens are prophets of their trade or, like Clooney's McGill, sharp-tongued snake-oil salesmen. I used to be fond of 'O Brother' but on revisit it seems laden with iconography and hollow in meaning. Often reviews of their work consist of noting the references; sometimes like 'Fink' they use reference to great effect. In contrast this feels episodic, vaguely entertaining.