Tim Blake Nelson
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Hot young stars, a hip, driving soundtrack, plus a provocative tale of jealousy and betrayal combine to create this controversial modern-day version of Shakespeare's classic, Othello. O is Odin James (Mekhi Phifer) a star high school basketball player and NBA hopeful. Even though he's one of the few black students at the elite Palmetto Grove Academy, he has the adoration of all, including the team's coach (Martin Sheen) and the Dean's beautiful daughter, Desi (Julia Stiles). Odin's troubled friend Hugo (Josh Hartnett), the coach's son, is deeply resentful of his father's preference of Odin on and off the court. When Hugo plots a diabolical scheme to sow the seed of mistrust between O and Desi, it sets in motion a disturbing chain of events that erupts into a firestorm of breathtaking intensity.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 124
- Fresh: 79
- Rotten: 45
- Average Rating: 6.1/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Rotten: On your already groaning Shakespeare for Teens video shelf, stack this one above 10 Things I Hate About You ... and quite a bit below Romeo + Juliet.
Fresh: O may not be a classic adaptation, but it works a lot better than it should have.
Fresh: A tale of teen violence takes on qualities of timelessness and universality it would not otherwise possess, while the Othello story leaps out from the screen with a rare immediacy.
Fresh: A worthy, well-acted attempt to transform Shakespeare's Othello into a tragic touchstone for modern teens.
Fresh take on a Shakespeare classic
O, based on the Shakespeare’s classic play Othello, follows almost the exact same story line as the original production except that O is set at an American preparatory boarding high school. The drama, romance, and love story unfolds as Hugo, basketball Coach Duke Golding’s son, aims to impress his father and soar above everyone else in life. However, Hugo’s actions to get to the top are far less impressive than his ambitions. Hugo first attempts to split up his own team in order to make him look more like a standout and be more like the superstar son his father wants. He creates tensions by having Rodrigo, a heavy-set, rich teen who has few friends, start a fight that in turn gets Mike Cassio, a star basketball player, kicked off the team because he threw the first punch. Hugo also manages to create tensions between Desy, the head of school’s daughter, and her boyfriend, Oden James, the best basketball player in probably all of their school’s conference. Hugo’s plots and schemes makes Oden doubt Desy's faithfulness to him and make him believe that she has been hooking up with Cassio who has had a lot of free time and was told by Hugo that talking to Desy could get him reinstated on the team. All of this pot-stirring ends deadly and tragic with the only main character surviving completely unharmed but in handcuffs is the mastermind-Hugo. Shakespeare’s play is seemingly transformed to modern day times; the actors do an excellent job portraying the same actions and emotions their counterparts from Venice did centuries ago. The preparatory boarding school really shows the elite status of the teens and provides the setting for rival competitions and social hierarchy. The only real problem I had with O is that there was a lot of unnecessary cussing involved. I think they could have gotten a lot of the same points across without using so many less than flattering words. I think at some points they were necessary, but at others, they were irrelevant. Other than that one critique, I really enjoyed this movie, and I thought it brought a new, interesting light to Shakespeare.
Great adaptation...LET US BUY IT!
This was a great adaptation of a classic Shakespeare novel, now please, let us buy it?!
Let us buy it!!!
This is a great movie! When are you going to let us buy it?