"O": A Film Review

7:08 PM


Cast: Julia Stiles, Mekhi Phifer, Josh Hartnett, Andrew Keegan

Director: Tim Blake Nelson

Avg. Rating: 

My Rating: 



Thanks to my new-found love of Othello (and my everlasting love of Josh Hartnett), I found myself watching O. For those who don't know, O is a rather modern retelling of Shakespeare's Othello in which the characters are high school students in attendance at a prep school. The movie as a whole, while not unpleasant, was just so far from Shakespearean quality that one cannot help but think of it in a disapproving light.
I felt that O was a decent film; it followed the basic plot and structure of Othello, the actors were all rather suitable, and the overall atmosphere felt reminiscent of the original work. In spite of this, the film just could not pull together to form a stellar adaptation. Here we have Odin (Othello) and Hugo (Iago). The setting of the film and nature of their friendship makes the film feel very Othello meets A Separate Peace - you have these two friends who, although on the surface appear to be fine, have underlying issues as Hugo feels Odin is outshining him in all areas. This could have made for a great film had it not been an adaptation, however, I have just become so partial to the original work that I can no longer picture it in any other way.  
         Disregarding the text, the film still could have used work. Although the actors did a fair job at conveying the emotions required for a Shakespearean adaptation, the overall plot dragged the quality down. The fact that Odin and Hugo were basketball playing teens in attendance of a prep school made some parts of the film seem tacky and overdone. The soundtrack was right there to reinforce this atmosphere.
          As a whole, O was not a film I looked upon with distaste. I found myself enjoying the film here in there because it gave Othello a modernized feel and made it more relatable; everyone experiences jealousy, but translating the story to the present day made it feel more realistic to me (although I still enjoy the original more). I feel that if I were to look at O and Othello as separate entities, each would hold their own qualities that would make them great.


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