The Coen Brothers’ 2000 film O Brother Where Are Thou? was set in the Depression-era Deep South and billed as a loose adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. It was even nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, despite the fact that both brothers admit to never having read the Odyssey.
When I talk about the use of music in movies, I throw around a lot of names (Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson and Martin Scorsese are the most common) but I often forget to include the Coen Brothers. And that’s a major oversight, because these guys have done great things with music in all their films.
Start with the original scores, all penned by the wonderful Carter Burwell. From the banjo-and-yodel version of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ in Raising Arizona to the pounding bass drums of Fargo‘s Nordic-inspired title song; from Barton Fink‘s edgy violins to that gorgeous and melancholy Miller’s Crossing theme.