Cinema: O

Directed by Tim Blake Nelson

O, as in Othello. The Moor of Venice is now Odin James (Mekhi Phifer), the only black kid in an elite Southern prep school and, gee whiz, a basketball star--a player of great flair, a dark temper and, apparently, no will of his own. Iago is Hugo (Josh Hartnett), the coach's son with a bit of a grudge. Desdemona is Desi (Julia Stiles); Emilia is Emily (Rain Phoenix). As the updated plot is predictably spun out by scripter Brad Kaaya, your response may be a glum "Uh-O." Best to watch the many ovals that Nelson has cleverly worked into the visual...

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