O Review

Image for O

Popular basketball star Odin James is the only black kid at an exclusive prep school. But jealousy drives his classmate Hugo to plot against him by starting a rumour that O's girlfriend has been seeing his best friend behind his back.


Miramax film, school campus, Josh Hartnett, murders ù itÆs the tried and tested formula of Halloween H20 and The Faculty. But the only masked figure stalking the student dorms in this update of the BardÆs Othello is the tragic muse. To the modern audience, the motivations that drive the characters in the play arenÆt always credible when presented in their original context. However, when placed among hormonally-addled teenagers, the inner workings of the charactersÆ minds become sharply accessible. Hugo (the filmÆs Iago figure) feels socially inferior to his classmates and unloved by his sports coach dad (Martin Sheen), who favours basketball star Odin. Simmering like a Columbine massacre-in-waiting, Hugo just wants to be the centre of attention. Hartnett never allows him to become a hissable villain, keeping Hugo shy of our sympathies, yet his every move is utterly believable.

This screen adaptation clarifies ShakespeareÆs themes in a way that neither Laurence OlivierÆs embarrassing shoe-polish job nor the more recent Laurence Fishburne version could manage.