Maybe the perfect adventure film, this instant Coen classic is impossible to turn away from. Though it makes no mistake about its influences - an early title card immediately identifies the picture as an adaptation of Homer's Odyssey - the brilliance of O Brother is in its departures from the source material, which come so frequently that the carryovers (the Sirens, the Cyclops, the protagonist's escape from captivity) are celebrated as nods and winks, expected but also unexpected.

George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson are perfectly cast as the charismatically brainless scoundrels at the story's epicenter, while guest spots from John Goodman, Holly Hunter and Charles Durning take the whole mess over the top. Amazingly rich, sharp-witted, engrossing stuff that's accompanied by an all-time favorite of a soundtrack.

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