O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU, AND Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN – MOVIE REVIEWS

  1. O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU (2000)

 

O Brother, Where Art Thou is set in 1937 Mississipi, and it’s about Ulysses Everett who escapes from prison with his two companions Pete and Delmar. Their goal is to now find the treasure that Ulysses had buried, without getting caught by the authorities. And we are shown all the problems and chaos that they encounter on the way. It’s based on the greek poem Odyssey by Homer.

I like what Coen brothers have done with this movie, they have nicely captured the depression era. There’s a lot of attention to detail to create a sense of that time period. The extensive use of the sepia tint adds to it. The characters are all whacky and nicely done. Our leads George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson are excellent as these convicts. Even the minor characters made me laugh as they are all eccentric, like the scene with Coen’s long time collaborator, John Goodman was the most memorable because of how surreal and funny it was.

As always, the writing is really fine. Coen Brothers know how to create a clever southern crime comedy. It’s really funny and entertaining. And it’s all very unique! I’ve never seen anything like this.

I really liked how they’ve used folk and country music. The music is important to the film as it precedes the story. The film would not have been the same without the music.

All in all, O Brother, Where Art Thou is one of the many perfect films made by the Coen Brothers. It’s odd, unpredictable, hilarious, and original.

 

2.

Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN is about two guys in their late teens, Tenoch (Diego Luna) and Julio (Gael Garcia Bernal) who take a trip to an imaginary beach in order to impress this Spanish woman who they are infatuated by. On the surface this may look like a  normal road trip film, but below all this there’s a lot of intelligent subtext. It’s them coming to terms with their identities while also learning about the important things in life.

 

Cuaron perfectly captures youth. Our two leads are two hedonisitic teens who are oozing of sexual energy. Them just looking for simple pleasures in life was very interesting to watch. One of the most important themes of the film is that of sex, it shows how sex can often make or break a relationship and it’s often used by our characters just to ignore and get over stuff. The film also talks about life and shows how often people we know may be living a completely different life that we are not aware of. We also see how this brings strain in their relationship.

 

The movie also captures the political atmosphere of Mexico in that period, and how a few economic changes have repercussions on the lives of the common people. We also see the class divide in Mexico, our leads the two friends are from completely different backgrounds. There are often subtle nods to these things. Hats off to the writers for creating these smart and subtle nuances.

 

The movie does a very unique job at portraying the characters. We see things as they occur and there’s no in point into the mind of any of the characters. So we do not know if the characters understand how moral their actions are. It’s open to our interpretation. That was very smart.

 

Alfonso Cuaron has created an atmosphere where we feel like we are at an arm’s length from these characters. There are close to no close ups, which helps in adding to this feeling. We are like a fly on the wall witnessing these raw moments just as they play out. I also loved his use of symbolism that adds an extra layer of meaning and helps the movie move forward. Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography is an entity of it’s own. There are close to a dozen shots that made my jaw drop, two of them being long takes of just the characters talking.

 

Y tu mama tambien may seem like a teenage sex comedy but it’s much deeper. This film could be studied, and every time you’ll find something new. This is a hilarious, thought provoking and thematically rich film made by one of the most versatile directors working today.

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