USA: Lions Gate Films
UK: Metrodome Distribution
Cast: Mekhi Phifer, Josh Hartnett, Julia Stiles, Elden Henson, Andrew Keegan, Rain Phoenix, John Heard, Anthony Johnson, Martin Sheen, Chris Freihofer, Christopher Jones, Chris Dong, Lisa Benavides, Marshall Gitter, Rachel Shumate, Joey Skatell
Director: Tim Blake Nelson
USA: 91 mins
UK: 94 mins
USA Rated: R for violence, a scene of strong sexuality, language and drug use
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language, sex, violence, and drug use
USA Release Date: 31 August 2001
UK Release Date: 13 September 2002
A contemporary retelling of OTHELLO Shakespeare's timeless tale of treachery and jealousy O will introduce a new audience to the genius of William Shakespeare and some of his most intriguing and tragic characters.
Set in an elite private school located deep in the new Amercian south, Mekhi Phifer portrays NBA hopeful Odin James, the only black student at the school. Playing the point guard position Odin is basketball scout's dream possessing the talent and poise to go straight from high school to the pros. Odin not only enjoys widespread popularity with other students he's dating Desi Brable (Julia Stiles) the beautiful daughter of the Dean of Palmetto Grove Academy (John Hurd). The envy of all their friends Odin and Desi have found what many others lack, a love that is deep, honest and pure.
Odin's best friend Hugo Goulding (Josh Hartnett) drawn closely from Shakespeare's Nefarious Lago is a starting forward on the basketball team and the son of Coach Duke Goulding (Martin Sheen). Hugo has been asked by his father to look out for Odin because of the particular pressures facing him at Palmetto Grove. Yet Hugo is bitterly envious of Odin and the attention Odin receives from the coach and everyone else at school. An introspective and somewhat mysterious young man Hugo seeks to manipulate those around him to his own private ends. Placed by his own father into the role of Odin confidante, Hugo is in reality seeking to destroy the very person he pretends to befriend striking at the very core of Odin's soul.
Hugo convices him that Desi is having an affair with another member of the basketball team, Michael Casio (Andrew Keegan). Meanwhile Hugo's rich room mate Roger Rodriguez (Elden Henson) will do anything to be popular. Desperately in love with Desi, Roger becomes another pawn in Hugo's dark scheme, even Hugo's girlfriend Emily (Rain Phoenix) succumbs as well, playing a part in her room mate Desi's downfall. As the basket ball season comes to a dramatic finish conflict among the six friends escalates into irrevocable tragedy when Hugo executes a plan prompting Odin to throw away all he loves his bright future his very soul.