Critics have accused Tim Blake Nelson's cinematic version of Shakespeare's Othello,of 'glorifying' violence in a school setting,but i strongly disagree,and believe that this somewhat controversial film should be viewed by teenagers.It explores the origins of school violence and how teen angst can lead to tragedy.The film communicates a powerful message that no teenager is incapable of taking their jealousy to extremes,and O's superb cast of young actors effectively demonstrate how treachery and envy can lead to tragedy.Quite correctly,the film is aimed at a teenage <more>
audience,with a smorgasboard of hot young talent.Mehki Phifer,portrays Odin,the star basketball player who has everything going for him,until his 'friend' Hugo Josh Hartnett is overcome with his emotions and envy for Odin that he devotes his time and effort to destroying his life,which he ultimately succeeds in doing.Phifer is remarkable in his role,but Hartnett steals the show in a performance that he's never outdone.Hartnett was perfectly cast as the dark,manipulative and evil character,and its hard to pick a flaw in his performance.Julia Stiles also performs well as Desi Brable,the sweet,smart and pretty girlfriend of Odin.O is a gripping tale based on love,friendship,betrayal and deceit,issues which are effectively explored and given the importance they need in the film.It is hard-hitting and confronting,and not easily forgotten.Excessive explicit language,graphic violence and a very disturbing sex scene are most memorable.What hits hardest is how the characters treat each other,and there are scenes that are difficult to sit through,but its important that you do.O leaves you drained,but its nothing less than a masterpiece.Don't expect any sugar coating either;there isn't any.Finally,a teen film which is raw and real.
Oh I loved O!!!! when i bought this movie on DVD i was so afraid that it wont be amusing as expected, but after i finished it i repeated it from the beginning and i started watching it again! i thought it would be a regular coll cruel teen-movie when i saw the trailer just like the classic CRUEL INTENTIONS but i found that its so dark so tragic and v.well directed. this movie gives a new meaning for teen-movies, it shows that teen-movies doesnt have to be stupid and simple like the flops SHE'S ALL THAT, BOYS AND GIRLS nor 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU. the performances were more than <more>
appealing specially for Josh Harnett although i know the Othello story quite well and certainly the ending i was so touched by the ending. i am impressed
Career-Making Performances Make "O" A Winner (by EdYerkeRobins)
Jealousy can drive someone to extreme lengths. A constant theme in literature and in film, no matter how extreme it is, it always hits close to home because everyone is jealous of someone or something. Such extreme jealousy is the subject of "O", a suspenseful high school drama based on Shakespeare's "Othello" which I'm not familiar with, so I'm uncertain how faithful "O" is to its source and was held back from release for over a year following the Columbine shootings, at a time when everything that involved teenagers and violence was censored in <more>
the paranoid American media. Thankfully, the film was not shelved permanently, as such would be a great loss to the art of film. Any drama relies heavily on the cast to make it believable, and "O" sports what was easily the best teen cast as well as one of the best casts overall in 2001. Mekhai Phifer is one to watch though he isn't as typecast in teen roles as the other leads as Odin, the betrayed, and the most real character in the movie. Unsure of who to trust, and played for a fool by his devious jealous "friend" Hugo Josh Hartnett , one feels his disparity and paranoia. Less than a week after seeing and trashing him in the horrid "40 Days and 40 Nights", Josh Hartnett redeems himself and shows that, given the right character, his relative coldness and stoic nature can work well; "O" is without a doubt his best performance, and hopefully this has opened an opportunity for him away from awful bubble gum romance flicks. The final lead liberated from teen-movie hell is Julia Stiles' Desi, who is just as confused and angry as Phifer's Odin. The pair has some chemistry at the beginning, but when the lies and allegations arrive the two ignite. The film's setting in a prep school in the Carolinas adds much to the character's conflicts, particularly Odin's. As the only African-American in a Southern private school, another layer to his character is that he still has to contend with proving himself against racism, and his interracial relationship with Desi may still cause controversy in some viewing circles. As a spoiled rich teen, Hugo is that much more angry when he doesn't get what he wants and is overshadowed by Odin, particularly in his father the coach of the team 's eyes. The sense of privacy and secrecy that a prep school instills in an audience at least an audience that doesn't attend one adds even more to the suspense and the complicatedness of Hugo's elaborate plan. The plan is elaborate, complex, and cold-hearted is relatively easy to follow and unexpected at the same time. It all fits together perfectly, with only one minor plot hole what happens to the school mascot? and one unnecessary detracting character the drug dealer who appears in a couple scenes without connection to any of the characters . As it steadily and seamlessly unfolds and the plot thickens, it becomes more amazing that someone like Hugo could even exist and feel so strongly as to commit such despicable acts. Yet the whole time, Hugo is cool and collected, and his plan never leaves the bounds of realism. It's powerful, and a terrible vision of the most intimate relationships forced apart in the name of jealousy. "O" is one of those rare movies that can take a cast of hot teen faces and really make them shine in a well-written, well-acted film that they can be proud of when they outgrow teen idolatry. It may turn off their prime audiences, but it shows the rest of us what they are truly capable of if given the opportunity, and with this cast, it is hoped they can be paired with such an excellent, challenging film again.
Many have commented on what a remarkable performance the young actors give in this riveting movie. I would like to add that it is stunning how closely the director follows the original Othello. Except for updating the language a bit and moving the action to a South Carolina prep school, the story is virtually unchanged. Even some of the dialog mimics the original. Take special note of what Hugo and Odin say as the movie's climax progresses: It is nearly identical to what Shakespeare wrote.It's such a great introduction to the Bard that I'm using "O" in my humanities <more>
by the end you be thinking NO!!! i don't believe it (by kittylover29)
Josh Hartnett blow dry julia stiles wicked Mekhi Phifer 8 mile good Role for Josh out of the romance and in to the Drama but this is a shocker for Josh. its about this basketball player Phifer who as a nice girlfriend Stiles that this other guy has to have and will do anything to get her.
A wonderful retelling of Shakespeare's tragic tale (by mattymatt4ever)
"O" is what Baz Luhrman's rendition of "Romeo and Juliet" set out to be, but miserably failed: a modernization of a Shakespeare tragedy. In this case, the actors don't look foolish, quoting Shakesperean dialogue in a modern setting. In "O" the dialogue is completely modernized, but the characters and plot of "Othello" still remain intact, updated to a high school setting. Of course, Mekhi Pfieffer and Josh Hartnett look way too old for high school students, but this film is so wonderfully done that I was able to overlook that flaw.Tim Blake <more>
Nelson who some may remember from the Coen Brothers' "O Brother Where Art Thou" did an excellent job at directing, avoiding all teen movie cliches. Along with "Ghost World" I would hate for this film to classified in the same genre as teen fluff flicks like "Drive Me Crazy" and "She's All That." There's no gross-out sight gags or "Dawson's Creek" melodrama. The acting is excellent. Underrated actor Mekhi Pfieffer is perfect in the title role, delivering an extraordinarily powerful performance. Julia Stiles is also great--and insanely beautiful, as always--as his lover Desi. Josh Hartnett is perfectly cast as Hugo, a modern version of the conniving Iago character in Shakespeare's play. Unlike some shallow teen actors, I think Hartnett has a good career ahead of him and is more than just another Hollywood pretty boy. It's nice to see his career flourish with hits like "Black Hawk Down." Anthony "A.J." Johnson shows he can pull off a serious role quite well. John Heard is great as Desi's father and Martin Sheen is a scene-stealer as the loudmouthed basketball coach/father of Hugo. The soundtrack is wonderful, contrasting beautiful Operatic Arias with the help of Elizabethan instruments with modern day rap music. The film contains certain themes, commonly used in edgy high school dramas: drug use, violence. But these themes are never presented in a heavy-handed fashion, never overshadowing its main themes of jealousy, greed and envy. "O" is a wonderful piece of cinema that shows what a modern version of a Shakespeare tragedy should look like. Definitely worth seeing!My score: 9 out of 10
Retelling of Shakespeare's "Othello" set in the year 2000 with high school kids. I've never read "Othello" so I don't know how faithful this is. An alienated high school kid Josh Hartnett ignored by his basketball coach father Martin Sheen chewing the scenery , plots to destroy Odin Mekhi Phifer a star player his father adores. Tragedy follows. Fast-paced, somber and disturbing. The characters talk and act like real kids--you get to know and understand them so the violence that erupts at the end is very upsetting. Excellent acting, especially by Julia <more>
Stiles as Odin's girlfriend Desi , Phifer and Hartnett who's absolutely chilling . The only bad acting is by Sheen--way too over the top. This is an extreme film--lots of swearing, a disturbing sex scene and the killings at the end. Worth seeing but depressing. Sat on the shelf for 2 years because Miramax was afraid of it. Good thing Lions Gate bought it and released it.
In these dark times when it seems like at least 95 % of all the teen-movies that are made are trying to copy "American Pie", this is the kick in the butt that the genre needs. Shakespeare's classical play Othello has been somewhat rewritten to fit the silverscreen and the 21st century better. The theme of revenge, love and jealousy remains intact but the settings have been changed. Great actors in the three leading roles Stiles, Phifer, Hartnett makes this movie feel alive, and the cursing and violence makes it feel even more real. The ending is scary and sad, and it makes you <more>
think for a long time after you've seen it.Along with "Donnie Darko" and "Ghost World", this is one of the best movies aimed at teens I've seen.***/****
One of the better retellings of Shakespeare to date. ***1/2 out of four (by Movie-12)
O / 2001 ***1/2 out of four After the disastrous attempts the last decade has made at updating Shakespeare, I eventually thought that it was nearly impossible to successfully modernize anything of the genre. Shakespeare's themes and ideas can still relate with many aspects of society today, but seldom do filmmakers incorporate modern culture with the timeless stories told so long ago. "O" is like a slap in the face that proves my theory wrong. Based on Shakespeare's play "Othello," this isn't the first time Hollywood has tried to translate the tragic <more>
masterpiece onto film. In 1995, Laurence Fishburne starred in Oliver Parker's unsuccessful adaptation of the play. This time around, director Tim Blake Nelson has finally completed a victorious version of the story.and it's takes the form of a high school drama. The film takes place in an elite private school located in the American South. Mekhi Phifer "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" stars as the title character, named Odin James, the only African American student at the school. That doesn't interfere with his reputation or image, however, because he's the school's defining figure. Rewarded MVP by the school's basketball team, he's a virtual celebrity with the student body, the basketball coach Martin Sheen , as well as his beautiful girlfriend, Desi Brable Julia Stiles of "Save the Last Dance" , the daughter of the Dean of Palmetto Grove Academy John Heard .Hugo Goulding Josh Hartnett of "Pearl Harbor" , the son of the basketball coach, is Odin's best friend. He's asked by his father to look out for Odin because of the straining pressures of Palmetto Grove Academy. Little does anyone know, however, Hugo is dangerously envious of Odin and the attention he receives. On the outside, Hugo is friendly to all of his basketball teammates, including Odin, but on the inside, he's concocting a bitterly evil plan that will render more than just the social status of his classmates.This tale of treachery, jealousy, and mistrust will introduce a new audience to the genius of William Shakespeare and some of his most intriguing and intelligent characters. In this version, the film changes the original metaphor of war into that of high school sports. It's startling how the themes of the classic story translate so well to the lives of modern young people. The film thoroughly examine the emotions of its characters. Through jealousy, favoritism, trust, and envy, to popularity, conformity, and the extreme measure some will take to fulfill their feelings, "O" looks into the heart of darkness, not through a sadistic serial killer or demonic monster, but through one of the most dangerous figures of all, a friend with ulterior motives.Working against an inconsistent editing style and an uneven soundtrack, the actors do an exceedingly well job with their difficult characters. Josh Hartnett delivers a performance that isn't excessive or physically violent, but instead internal and intelligent. He gives his character a face for the complex emotions. He doesn't seek satisfaction through random temper tantrums, but through developing a full scale plan. Julia Stiles projects a charming, passionate chemistry with her supporting characters. Mekhi Phifer also furnishes a strong, convincing image of Odin.Perhaps "O" doesn't fully exceed it's potential. It doesn't develop such possible themes as racism or one-sidedness. While creating a strong message on keeping friends close, but enemies closer, the film fails to examine a handful of themes that would have made the powerful, tragic conclusion even more effective."O" was originally completed in 1998, but because of the recent violence in real life high schools, the studios were uncertain about it's content and rescheduled its release date numerous times. Maybe these actions say something about the movie's impact and how influential it may become. In that case, why wait to release "O" if the message is something today's teens need to witness, both to inform them on Shakespeare and to demonstrate the dangerous results of envy and jealousy.