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O [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Mekhi Phifer, Josh Hartnett, Julia Stiles, Elden Henson, Andrew Keegan
  • Directors: Tim Blake Nelson
  • Producers: Eric Gitter, Anthony Rhulen
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Cinema Club
  • DVD Release Date: 18 July 2005
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000DZRCR
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,573 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Updated retelling of William Shakespeare's tragedy 'Othello', which drops the story into the modern-day setting of an elite private school in the American South. Mekhi Phifer stars as Odin James, the only black kid in the school, and also a champion basketball player, who is dating the popular and beautiful Desi (Julia Stiles). But his best friend Hugo (Josh Hartnett) resents his popularity, and in particular Odin's relationship with Hugo's father, basketball coach Duke (Martin Sheen). To make Odin jealous and sabotage his popular status, Hugo embarks upon a carefully planned scheme of revenge, laying a series of signs to make it look as though Desi is cheating on Odin with teammate Michael (Andrew Keenan). Consumed by jealousy, Odin starts to lose his grip on everything that he holds dear...

From Amazon.co.uk

Director Tim Blake Nelson sets Shakespeare's "Othello" in a modern-day private high school and the result is a dark, sombre teen tragedy. Mekhi Phifer (8 Mile) stars as Odin James, an African-American star basketball player at the otherwise all-white school. The coach of the team (Martin Sheen) loves Odin like a son, which causes his real son Hugo (Josh Hartnett) to squirm with jealousy and plan an elaborate revenge. Julia Stiles (a modern-dress Shakespeare regular, having also co-starred in Hamlet and Ten Things I Hate About You) is Desi, the virginal daughter of the dean, with whom Odin is in love. The ensuing outburst of tragic teen violence is a shocking denouement that elevates the already dangerous mood of the film to fully fledged terror. Shakespeare's original dialogue is abandoned in favour of hip-hop-flavoured modern language, exploring themes of class, race, and all-consuming jealousy. --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 9 Jan. 2006
Format: DVD
Modern directors have found a way of connecting great literature to younger audiences by putting recasting the context -- this is not a corruption, for indeed Shakespeare and other literary giants have had their work adapted for the times, and for different times, on stage and screen numerous times. Perhaps the best comparison here is the adaptation of the French 'Dangerous Liaisons' to the modern, urban 'Cruel Intentions'. One of the best places for playing out unbridled passion isn't the corporate boardroom or courtroom or political venue, but the intensely emotional and unrestrained world of teenagers and high school. It is into this context that director Tim Blake Nelson (also known for his acting in 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' and 'Holes') and screenwriter Brad Kaaya updated Shakespeare's play of jealousy and betrayal, Othello.
While Mekhi Phifer is the title player ('O', actually Odin James, the modern Othello), Josh Hartnett in the supporting role of Hugo (Iago) steals the show. Odin is a black basketball player in a private, mostly-white southern prep school, in love with the dean's daughter, and the star of the basketball team, setting up rivalries in the team based both on abilities and racial lines. Hugo is jealous of Odin's popularity, skill and preferential treatment by all, even Hugo's own father, Duke Goulding (Martin Sheen), the basketball coach. Hugo decides to ruin Odin, his jealousy becoming contagious of a sort to influence his roommate Roger, his own girlfriend Emily (Rain Phoenix), Odin's best friend Michael, and finally Odin's girlfriend, the dean's daughter, Desi (Desdimona, played by Julia Stiles).
This is an underappreciated gem.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 9 Jan. 2006
Format: DVD
Modern directors have found a way of connecting great literature to younger audiences by putting recasting the context -- this is not a corruption, for indeed Shakespeare and other literary giants have had their work adapted for the times, and for different times, on stage and screen numerous times. Perhaps the best comparison here is the adaptation of the French 'Dangerous Liaisons' to the modern, urban 'Cruel Intentions'. One of the best places for playing out unbridled passion isn't the corporate boardroom or courtroom or political venue, but the intensely emotional and unrestrained world of teenagers and high school. It is into this context that director Tim Blake Nelson (also known for his acting in 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' and 'Holes') and screenwriter Brad Kaaya updated Shakespeare's play of jealousy and betrayal, Othello.
While Mekhi Phifer is the title player ('O', actually Odin James, the modern Othello), Josh Hartnett in the supporting role of Hugo (Iago) steals the show. Odin is a black basketball player in a private, mostly-white southern prep school, in love with the dean's daughter, and the star of the basketball team, setting up rivalries in the team based both on abilities and racial lines. Hugo is jealous of Odin's popularity, skill and preferential treatment by all, even Hugo's own father, Duke Goulding (Martin Sheen), the basketball coach. Hugo decides to ruin Odin, his jealousy becoming contagious of a sort to influence his roommate Roger, his own girlfriend Emily (Rain Phoenix), Odin's best friend Michael, and finally Odin's girlfriend, the dean's daughter, Desi (Desdimona, played by Julia Stiles).
This is an underappreciated gem.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Captain Pugwash on 8 May 2009
Format: DVD
Teen drama version of Shakespeare's drama of lust, jealousy and manipulation. Josh Hartnett is appropriately smug and unlikeable as the Iago character 'Hugo'; school basketball coach's son and all round slippery customer. Mekhi Phifer plays Othello as 'O'; basketball star and all round hero, he succumbs quickly to Hugo's manipulation and suspects his girlfriend of sleeping with other guys, eventually leading to tragedy.
With competent performances but the feel of just another high school drama movie, it's more like 'Ten Things I Hate about You' than Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By hillbank68 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Feb. 2007
Format: DVD
This is a good shot at modernising 'Othello' in an American high school situation - not at all an easy thing to do, on the surface, but it does work. The jealousy centres, not on military prowess and promotion, but on basketball, and of course a Desdemona figure (Julia Stiles, who is good) is there too. Josh Harnett takes on the tough Iago role and makes a pretty good job of it. The film does not have the disctinction of, say, 'Clueless' (based on Jane Austen's 'Emma') but it is thoroughly enjoyable and the eventual murder arises surprisingly naturally from the action.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have to say, I was a little disappointed with this film. Having studied Shakespeare's Othello and seen a few productions of it, including the film version starring Laurence Fishburne, I'm very familiar with the original and frankly this version doesn't live up to it. The characters seem very one-dimensional and generally over-simplified: Hugo lacks the ingenuity and subtlety of Iago; Odin seems shallow and naive compared to Othello, who was proud and eloquent; and Emily is shady and underhanded rather than the loyal and strong-minded friend that Emilia is. Othello is probably my favourite Shakespeare play so I may have had overly high expectations, but all the same, I just thought it would be...more.

Having said that, it was by no means a terrible film. As a standalone flick, it would have been great - it's got drama, violence and romance, and has a pretty solid cast, including Julia Stiles, who starred in another Shakespeare adaptation, 10 Things I Hate About You. Actually, hers was the only character that I wasn't disappointed by: although 'Desi' is not as demure as Desdemona, I'm not a big fan of Desdemona in the original anyway. But, as a parallel to Othello, it's quite weak.

Overall, it was all right, definitely watchable but I can't say it blew me away.
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