Cert: 12A Runtime: 106 mins Director: Joel & Ethan Coen Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Feinnes, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton
Squint against the grandeur!
What a worthy setting that Hail, Caesar! is my first review of my 5th year of this site. For anyone that doesn’t know I am a big Coen Brothers fan. Hail, Caesar! hasn’t received great feedback in the States but here in the U.K the Coen’s are always welcome. Inside Llewyn Davis was by far one of the strongest films they have made to date. So what is Hail, Caesar! about? In the early 1950s, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is busy at work trying to solve all the problems of the actors and filmmakers at Capitol Pictures. His latest assignments involve a disgruntled director, a singing cowboy, a beautiful swimmer and a handsome dancer. As if all this wasn’t enough, Mannix faces his biggest challenge when Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) gets kidnapped while in costume for the swords-and-sandals epic “Hail, Caesar!” If the studio doesn’t pay $100,000, it’s the end of the line for the movie star.
For those who love Coen Brother’s films this is not their utter best, but is still enjoyable and hilarious.Not that it is all that surprising but this film has quite a few moments that are truly laugh-out-loud funny, but the humour is more subtle. Another small problem with the humour is that while the film is funny, many of the funnier jokes are at the beginning of the film. While the film is a good and solid entry it has a few a few weaknesses. The villains of the film are a little weak, and because of the crowded story are never really fleshed out in a realistic way. The film also seems to gloss over the consequences of characters actions, and tries to just be funny. The cinematography isn’t Deakins best work either in my opinion. My other issue is that it feels like a very unphilosophical film for the Coen’s, it’s very straight forward.
Josh Brolin steals the show with his ingenious and genuine performance, given the circumstances of the plot. The advertising may have you believe there’s a lot of big names featured in the film – Jonah Hill is one of them – but they only have a short amount of screen time. Ralph Fiennes was brilliant in his scenes with Alden Ehrenreich, truly great chemistry and very simple writing, but the way it was delivered made it seem genius. In the end Hail, Caesar is a comedy for the thinking man who doesn’t like the modern comedies that are often dumb and overbearing. Hail, Caesar is a film that looks back at 50’s Hollywood lovingly, and for that reason is a great film for film buffs, especially those that love classic Hollywood. Hail, Caesar! is a great comedy by the Coen’s and it’ll be interesting to see what they do next.