The Moorish General Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his Lieutenant Michael Cassio, when in reality, it is all part of the scheme of a bitter Ensign named Iago.
We see two stories told over four time lines, which wind down to a devastating ground zero collision, as we watch a double tragedy unfold in a small Oklahoma town. The two stories are told ... See full summary »
Tim Blake Nelson
Mary Kay Place,
Tough Coach Duke Goulding leaves nothing untried to lead his almost exclusively white boarding school basketball team, the Hawks, to victory after victory, but his own son Hugo feels his polyvalent technical excellence and tireless efforts -which require using stimulants- are not getting anything like the recognition he deserves, especially when coach gives the best player award to Odin James, the only black teammate, even saying he loves Odin like his own son, who in turn only calls super-rich Michael Cassio to share in the honor. So Hugo, who is liked by everyone, decides to set up the boys who stole his glory, and he knows a cocky adolescent's weak points are his pride and his girl. This Dixie Jago schemes to bring down a black Othello and his Cassio, playing into the poisonous power of jealousy, however badly this also hurts their loved ones and the whole team...Written by
The studios were initially hesitant about giving the film a one-letter title. The original title was "Odin". But they eventually decided the one-letter title was better because it was unique. The "O" also resembles a basketball hoop, which Mekhi Phifer appears to be holding on the poster. See more »
In the end when Emily is confronting Hugo about telling O that Desi was cheating on him, she is pointing in O's direction with her left hand. In the next shot, she has changed hands and is pointing at Hugo. See more »
All my life I always wanted to fly. I always wanted to live like a hawk. I know you're not supposed to be jealous of anything, but... to take flight, to soar above everything and everyone, now that's living.
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The high point of "O" is that its probably the best "modern" adaptation of Shakespeare to date. However, given competition such as "10 Things I Hate About You", its not much of a compliment. Baz Luhrman's "Romeo and Juliet" was a wonderfully artistic movie, but keeping the original dialogue, a risky premise from the outset in a modern background, harmed the flow of the movie, making it seem incongruous. "O" gets it right, adapting modern language to emphatically convey emotion. For those who haven't picked up on it by now, "O" is a modernization of Shakespeare's "Othello".
O is Odin James(Mekhai Phifer), the protagonist, whose good intentions and tragic flaws work against him when provoked. James' fame comes from his incredible prowess on the basketball court. Odin is a knockout NBA prospect and the center of attention wherever he goes, and seems to have everything, including the dean's daughter as his girlfriend, Desi(Julia Stiles). The glory bestowed upon Odin draws ferocious envy one of his friends, Hugo(Josh Hartnett), who plots a scheme playing on Odin's jealous nature to break Odin and Desi up and, in the process, give him some sense of satisfaction. The story that ensues is stellar (naturally, as it is based off of one of Shakespeare's best works). But, as "Othello" is a tragedy, "O" can only come to a tragic end...
I felt the emotional prescence in this movie much more than I expected to, much more than I would have had had the movie toned its violence and sexual imagery down to snag a more desirable PG-13 rating. Phifer is very convincing in his role as Odin, especially in the dunk contest and the sex scene with Julia Stiles, breathing a murderous rage into a character tragically bound to demise despite his better efforts and honesty. His presence drives the movie, his raging jealousy a brash contrast with Hugo's cool and ruthless methods of deception.
I was very pleased that the issue of race wasn't expounded upon in the movie (as I expecting when I saw the first preview). It holds true to Shakespeare's original intention, which pictures Othello as a "Moor", a person with a strange fasion of dress and appearance. I don't believe Shakespeare meant to make an issue or a statement on race in Othello, and, despite what I'm sure was a juicy temptation, the writers hold true to this, except for one comment Odin makes, which makes sense. To ignore the issue would be foolish if making a true modernization of the play, but it never becomes a main focus of the film. The only thing I would change is to not make Hugo such a sympathetic character. Iago (Hugo's counterpart in "Othello") was an insanely evil character, with little reason to feel a bit of pity or sympathy for his deeds and his motives. Hugo's father clearly neglects his own son's well-being in deferrence to Odin, an important plot element in "O" that is absent from "Othello", making Hugo much more pitious than Iago. Also, some of the scenes felt a bit rushed. Other than this, I highly recommend this movie to anyone who can handle it; some of the scenes are very intense. I gave it an 8 out of 10.
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