If you are familiar
with the bard's "othello," then you are aware of the main elements of the plot of "O."
Here, the setting is an American boarding school
and the "O" stands for Odin, a star basketball player
who is loved by all. The Iago
character is re-named Hugo (for what can only be inexplicable,
random reasons). Hugo is jealous of his friend and teammate,
Odin. He uses a weaker friend and his own
girlfriend to wreck Odin's relationship with
his girlfriend, Desi. He plants the seed of distrust and grows some really ugly emotions in Odin. They
plan to murder Desi and the innocent guy
whom she is supposedly involved with. And everything goes haywire.
At the end of Shakespeare's
work, one is left feeling sympathetic toward Othello
-- he has wrecked his life and the lives of others, but we have
seen the reasons. At the end of
"O," one is maybe just sad to have come to the end
of their popcorn. The performances are stale and the
direction is, for the most part,
shallow. Josh Hartnett creates a believable Hugo, but the other characters are confusing and several times
elicited laughs from the audience.
Bits of "O" do not
make sense to those not familiar with the original work. One wonders, "Hey, why is Hugo's girlfriend
stealing Desi's scarf?" Other bits
perhaps just do not translate to the new setting. When Odin
and Desi are in a sexual situation, for
example, and Odin catches himself in the mirror
and then mentally replaces himself with the man he fears Desi has abandoned him for, he appears vain and crazy.
This is not the intended effect.
Audience members laughed out loud. Some probably because of
the direct rip-off mirror technique from
earlier reproductions, and some probably
because the whole thing looked so, well, silly.
"O" is not altogether
without merit. However, a much more effective sibling
would be the video version of Othello starring Laurence Fisburne.
Rent that one, and in a few months, rent
( 2 out of 4 pops )
about this film with other Popkorn Junkies