Hail, Caesar! (2016)
Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum
Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Written by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hr. 46 min
Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a fixer. Someone who deals with the craziness that is the studio system during Hollywood’s Golden Age; and makes the magic happen. Taking on gullible stars, temperamental directors and the seemingly omnipresent entertainment media looking for gossip. A man spinning many precious plates, and tempted by a cushy job offer from a successful airplane manufacturer.
Will he stay or will he go is the central point to this story, the rest is just very nicely produced garnish. Great sets, nice period details, good performances, and plenty of big name stars hamming it up for our entertainment. A story that delivers clever dialog and plenty for Mannix to do, but ended up being a promising joke with a dull punchline. I appreciated how clever this was, but it didn’t make me laugh once.
This is a Coen brother’s movie however, which often requires the audience read between the lines. Beneath this quickly paced comedy and ode to the Golden Age of movies, is a message about the impermanence of things. A changing studio system, or even political philosophy. Attempts to right wrongs in the face of human imperfection and all that. Weighty stuff for a supposed period comedy about film industry magic, and it gives this movie a serious edge it quite frankly didn’t need.
If you’re a fan of the Coen brothers, then I’m sure you’ll find this entertaining, or at the very least, interesting. Those looking for introspective jabs at Hollywood and big belly laughs, will likely leave the theater a little disappointed.
Hail, Caesar! Is a great looking film, but could wait for a rental release. A HD screening at home will service this film decently enough.
I enjoyed Hobie Doyle’s (Alden Ehrenreich) contribution to this story. His character’s puppylike devotion to the movie business was refreshing amidst the quasi “dramedic” delivery of this story.