In the Dark

Odysseys

O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Produced by Buena Vista Pictures and Touchstone Pictures
Directed by Joel Coen
Screenplay by Ethan Coen with help from Homer
Released by Buena Vista Pictures

All the Pretty Horses
Produced by Columbia Pictures and Miramax Films
Directed by Billy Bob Thornton
Screenplay by Ted Tally from a novel by Cormac McCarthy
Released by Miramax Films and Sony Pictures

Traffic
Produced by Bedford Falls and Initial Entertainment Group
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Screenplay by Stephen Gaghan
Released by Initial Entertainment Group

Homer's Odyssey is the perfect narrative form for film. What other medium is as well equipped to render fantastic journeys filled with willful gods, unreasonable monsters, and enchanting women? This explains why three recent films have drawn upon the epic for their inspiration.

In O Brother, Where Art Thou?, filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen have decided to go James Joyce one better. Ireland's Homer set his Ulysses in Dublin of 1904. The Coens have placed theirs in Depression-era Mississippi, named him Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), and introduced him by quoting Homer's invocation to the muse. Furthermore, they have blessed him with a tireless Odyssean optimism quite...

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