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O Brother, Where Art Thou? Blu-ray

United States
Disney / Buena Vista | 2000 | 107 min | Rated PG-13 | Sep 13, 2011

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Blu-ray)

Codec: VC-1
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0

English SDH, French, Spanish

50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Region free

List price: $20.00, Price history

Amazon: $13.89 (Save 31%)
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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Blu-ray rating
Video 4.8 of 54.8
Audio 4.5 of 54.5
Extras 2.4 of 52.4
Based on 10 user reviews

Movie appeal


O Brother, Where Art Thou?


O Brother, Where Art Thou? Blu-ray delivers stunningly beautiful video and superb audio in this exceptional Blu-ray release

Homer's epic poem "The Odyssey", set in the deep south during the 1930's. In it, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.

For more about O Brother, Where Art Thou? and the O Brother, Where Art Thou? Blu-ray release, see O Brother, Where Art Thou? Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.

Starring: George Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson, John Turturro, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Charles Durning
Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

» See full cast & crew

O Brother, Where Art Thou? Blu-ray, Video Quality

  5.0 of 5

Aside from its intrinsic merits, O Brother, Where Art Thou? is notable for being the first American film to be finished entirely on a digital intermediate. The Coens and their cinematographer, Roger Deakins, felt that digital tools had progressed sufficiently to do the job, and Kodak was building the first DI suite at its Cinesite facility. In addition, Deakins had concluded that photochemical processing would not provide him sufficient control to achieve the "dustbowl" look the Coens wanted, especially since their shooting schedule called for principal photography during the summer, when the outdoor locations would be lushly green.

In April 2010, Deakins noted on his website that "I recently supervised a new transfer of 'O Brother Where Art Thou', which looks far superior to the original release to my eye." Deakins provided no further information, but the transfer to which he referred is presumably the version on this Blu-ray, which is 1080p and encoded with the VC-1 codec.

The Blu-ray image is gorgeously detailed with excellent black levels and precise contrasts that bring out minute picture elements without blowing out the whites. Consistent with the intended storybook, old-postcard look (as signaled by, among other things, the opening fade-in from, and closing fade-out to, black and white), the image is soft, but softness is not automatically a flaw in a film image. It can comfortably coexist with finely resolved detail, and that is the case here. I viewed the image on a 72" screen from about ten feet away, and there was no mistaking the quality of the image.

The color pallette is generally desaturated, except for very specific effects, such as yellow-orange flames or the red of the KKK Grand Wizard's uniform. The specific tints in individual scenes -- amber here, brown there -- have already caused controversy, either because they don't match up with what some viewers say they recall from the theater or because they vary from the DVD. Even if we leave aside the likelihood that the film's cinematographer supervised this transfer, using digital tools substantially advanced from those available to him during the film's production, and found it "superior to the original release to my eye", I don't consider either of these comparisons valid. Memory is notoriously unreliable (my own included), and it's been over ten years since the film was in theaters. As for the DVD, I will never understand the desire of some viewers to pinion Blu-ray to an earlier format with a fraction of Blu-ray's resolution and a much shallower color space. If a low-resolution, limited-pallette format is going to set the outer boundaries of how one judges a film's reproduction on video, then why bother with Blu-ray at all? Watch your DVDs, save money and be content.

Only in the rarest of instances will any of us have access to an authoritative source -- an answer print, original digital files, or perhaps an exhibition print struck from an interpositive -- against which a Blu-ray can be evaluated. Lacking such an objective basis for comparison, outcries based on memory, intuition, DVDs produced with outdated technology, rumors or general hostility toward studios are not a relevant basis for evaluating a Blu-ray. One should watch the disc and evaluate the quality of the image presented, noting such viewable things as black levels, color saturation, grain patterns, compression artifacts (if any), print damage (if any), etc. The Blu-ray image of O Brother has nothing in the "con" column and everything in the "pro" column. Highest marks.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.5 of 5

The audio quality of O Brother, Where Art Thou? is particularly crucial, because the soundtrack was even more successful than the film, winning multiple awards, selling millions of copies and inspiring concert tours and follow-up albums. Fortunately, the DTS lossless 5.1 track delivers everything that a fan could hope for, conveying the songs with presence, force and musicality, whether they are accompanying the action or being performed by the characters. "A Man of Constant Sorrow", which is heard twice in the film, has never sounded better. As for the non-musical elements of the track, the Coens have always been precise and imaginative in their use of sound, but they are sparing in the placement of elements in the surrounds. They prefer to keep the viewer's attention facing forward. There are moments when the soundfield expands to envelop the viewer (an example would be the revivalist meeting, sometimes referred to as "The Lotus Eaters", where a large group in white robes pass Everett, Delmar and Pete in the forest on their way to a mass baptism), but such effects are brief and rarely used.

The dialogue remains clear, even though it's frequently delivered in thick, overdone accents that are the Mississippi equivalent of the extreme Minnesota accents in Fargo.

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O Brother, Where Art Thou? Blu-ray, News and Updates

O Brother, Where Art Thou? Blu-ray - June 17, 2011

Disney will bring the Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? to Blu-ray. Set during Great Depression, this musical reworking of Homer's The Odyssey stars George Clooney (Syriana), John Turturro (Rounders), and Tim Blake Nelson (The Incredible Hulk) as three ...

O Brother, Where Art Thou? Blu-ray, Forum Discussions

Topic Replies Last post
O Brother? 10 Jul 29, 2008

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