O by Tim Blake Nelson |Mekhi Phifer, Josh Hartnett, Julia Stiles | 96009772796 | DVD | Barnes & Noble


3.8 18
Director: Tim Blake Nelson

Cast: Mekhi Phifer, Josh Hartnett, Julia Stiles


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A modernized retelling of William Shakespeare's Othello, O changes its setting to an elite private school in the American South. Odin (Mekhi Phifer) is the only black student at Palmetto Grove and also the star basketball player, with hopes of reaching the NBA. A popular student, he is dating Desi Brable (


A modernized retelling of William Shakespeare's Othello, O changes its setting to an elite private school in the American South. Odin (Mekhi Phifer) is the only black student at Palmetto Grove and also the star basketball player, with hopes of reaching the NBA. A popular student, he is dating Desi Brable (Julia Stiles), the daughter of the school's dean (John Heard), and they are deeply devoted to each other despite their different backgrounds. His best friend Hugo (Josh Hartnett) is a starter on the basketball team, and the son of the hard-driving coach Duke Goulding (Martin Sheen), who considers Odin as much his son as Hugo. Hugo is jealous of Odin's widespread popularity, so he hatches a scheme to ruin Odin's reputation with the help of Roger (Elden Henson), his rich roommate who will do anything to be popular and get Desi's attention. Through carefully planned revenge, he begins to make Odin believe that Desi is carrying out an affair with teammate Michael (Andrew Keegan). As Odin begins to receive merely coincidental signs to prove it, he begins to slowly lose his grounding and turns to Hugo for help, not knowing that he is being set up. As the basketball season comes to a close, Odin's jealousy begins to consume him, resulting in the loss of everything he cares about the most. O was sometime actor Tim Blake Nelson's directorial follow-up to his well-received debut Eye of God.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
An audacious updating of Shakespeare’s Othello, this well-acted drama hews closely to the Bard’s themes while giving them a decidedly contemporary edge. Mekhi Phifer portrays Odin "O" Jones, the star basketball player and only African-American student at an elite private school, where he enjoys the respect of fellow classmates and the affection of the dean’s daughter, Desi (Julia Stiles). Hugo Goulding (Josh Hartnett), ostensibly O’s best friend, secretly envies him and plots to undermine him. Director Tim Blake Nelson (Kansas) uses high school sports as a metaphor for battle, in place of the bloody war Shakespeare employs as a background for the conflicts in Othello. Like the original work, this film vividly and tragically illustrates the corrosive effect of envy on a man’s soul. Made in 1998 but held back because of several high-profile outbreaks of school violence, O demonstrates just how timeless Shakespeare's fundamental themes remain. Stiles, who joins Nelson on the DVD commentary track, proves as nimble here as in an earlier Shakespearean update, her turn as Katarina in 10 Things I Hate About You -- an equally deft 1999 modernization of The Taming of the Shrew.
All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
Tim Blake Nelson's searing modern update of Shakespeare's Othello drops the old tale into the present-day school system, attempting to make some sense out of the senselessness that pervades violent tendencies. Working from a complex, expertly detailed screenplay by promising newcomer Brad Kaaya, the filmmakers translate the story with ease without making it too earnest or preachy. The film's stance on the tough subject matter is surprisingly even-handed and the movie works on an overall intelligence level unparalleled in most teen dramas of late, especially those commenting on race relations, which O manages to incorporate into the proceedings far better than the 1995 Oliver Parker-Laurence Fishburne feature. As the teenage versions of Othello and Iago, Mekhi Phifer and Josh Hartnett give beautifully resonant performances, the former simultaneously conflicted and menacing, the latter using his naturally shifty persona to create a most effective villain, but one who manages to remain convincingly human. In yet another case of a studio not knowing what it had, the film gestated for nearly two years at Miramax Films (which sat on it to prevent controversy surrounding violence in schools, a big topic for the period) before Lions Gate Films finally agreed to distribute the feature in 2001.
USA Today

One of year's most emotionally stirring. Mike Clark

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Miramax Echo Bridge

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mekhi Phifer Odin James
Josh Hartnett Hugo Goulding
Julia Stiles Desi Brable
Elden Henson Roger Rodriguez
Andrew Keegan Michael Casio
Rain Phoenix Emily
Chris Freihofer Assistant Coach
John Heard Dean Brable
Martin Sheen Coach Dale Goulding
Doug Ayers Basketball Player (Hawks)
Jantz Baker Basketball Player (Titans)
Lisa Benavides Ms. Serney
Jerred Clarke Basketball Player (Titans)
Dal Conner Basketball Player (Dutchmen)
Zack David Basketball Player (Hawks)
Christopher Dong Dutchman Player
David Dooley Basketball Player (Dutchmen)
Justin Ferira Basketball Player (Dutchmen)
Julie Fishell Newscaster
Mike Flippo Mr. Bradley
Ken French Scout #1
James Galloway Basketball Player (Hawks)
Marshall Gitter Radio Announcer
Michael Givens Basketball Player (Hawks)
Richard Grandison Basketball Player (Bullsdogs)
Christopher Grooms Basketball Player (Titans)
Shawn Hill Basketball Player (Titans)
Jaime Ingram Basketball Player (Dutchmen)
A.J. Johnson Dell
Christopher Jones Jason
Evan Jones Basketball Player (Bullsdogs)
Parker Kirby Basketball Player (Titans)
Errol McPherson Basketball Player (Bullsdogs)
James Middleton Cop
Nathan Monroe Basketball Player (Bullsdogs)
Tony Moore Basketball Player (Bullsdogs)
Jack "Jay" Munn Lanny
Sean Murphy Basketball Player (Titans)
Kelvin O'Bryant Ball Boy
Chase Page Basketball Player (Hawks)
Dana Ratliff T. V. Announcer
Jon Rosenbloom Basketball Player (Titans)
Rachel Schumate Brandy
Bernard Smalls Basketball Player (Bullsdogs)
Ronalda Stover Woman Score Keeper
Rick Streeter Basketball Player (Hawks)
Josh Thorpe Student Basketball Manager
Quintrai Washington Basketball Player (Bullsdogs)
Wally Welch Mr. Kirby
Derek Zieminsky Basketball Player (Titans)

Technical Credits
Tim Blake Nelson Director
Marc Forster Director
Jack Ballance Art Director
Russell Fine Cinematographer
Jill M. Ohanneson Costumes/Costume Designer
Dina Goldman Production Designer
Jeff Danna Score Composer
Brad Kaaya Screenwriter,Associate Producer
David Schlesinger Set Decoration/Design
Tom Tucker Asst. Director
Avy Kaufman Casting
Kate Sanford Editor
Michael Levy Executive Producer
Mark Urman Executive Producer
Barry Cole Musical Direction/Supervision
Tom Myers Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- O
1. Team Time [6:31]
2. Serious Allegation [6:25]
3. Good Luck Charm [5:28]
4. Black Star [6:26]
5. Suspension [5:25]
6. Seeds of Jealousy [7:07]
7. Gifts Exchanged [7:45]
8. Find the Scarf [5:43]
9. Stack It up [6:03]
10. One Dunk [5:54]
11. Betrayal [6:11]
12. A Plan, My Brother [5:52]
13. Big Game [4:44]
14. Can't Let You Go [7:13]
15. Live Like a Hawk [7:26]


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