There was an innocent spirit in the movies that Preston Sturges made during World War II. His comedy was broad and his wit could be cutting, but at their core his films recall a time when we thought we had reason to be optimistic about the innate goodness of the human spirit. Sturges’s style did not survive the cynical realism of the postwar era.
The Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, are off-beat filmmakers, but their latest movie, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, is the best film released in 2000. O Brother is a tall tale of three 1930s convicts who escape from a Mississippi prison road gang and begin a journey that the film claims is loosely based on Homer’s Odyssey.