Hail, Caesar! (2016)
Directors: Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill
Plot: Hail, Caesar! follows a day in the life of Eddie Mannix who solves the problems for Capitol Pictures and its stars. But when their biggest star Baird Whitlock goes missing it is just another one of many problems he has to deal with.
I am going to start off with what I thought of Hail, Caesar!, before i get into the technical side of things. Prior to writing this I heard a lot of negative comments about the latest Coen Brothers film, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I understand that this is not a film for everyone, it is a love it or hate it kind of deal – Hail, Caesar! is also far from the best film to ever come from the Coen Brothers – but, as expected from the pair, it was wonderfully shot and superbly directed. Above all, it was entertaining.
A short description of Hail, Ceasar! would be that it is a day in the life of Josh Brolin’s character, a ‘fixer’ of sorts working for Capitol Pictures, as he deals with day to day problems within the studio. It just so happens that one of his biggest stars, Baird Whitlock (Clooney), goes missing and it is up to him to deal with it. It is actually quite difficult to describe what the film is about because this is a film that is not at all focused on the story, which is a bizarre statement I understand, but believe that Hail, Caesar! is more about the overall spectacle than anything elsel a light-hearted and nostalgic nod to the history of Hollywood.
As with many a Coen Brother film, the ensemble cast is noteworthy. In this movie they have gathered together some of the biggest names in Hollywood right now which, as well as acting as an audience draw, is a good representation of how the big Hollywood studios of the time would try to accumulate the biggest stars for themselves. You have George Clooney, one of the most well known Hollywood names of our time, as the biggest star in the movie’s movie, Scarlett Johansson as the beauty, Channing Tatum as the all singing and dancing heart-throb and Alden Ehrenreich as the upcoming star trying to find his voice. Where as some of the characters’ time on screen is fleeting, they certainly make an impact. I feel that cutting quickly from one characters story to another was an excellent way of mimicking the hectic universe of a Hollywood studio and one of many qualities this movie had that seems to have been overlooked by many a critic and commentator. For me, it was all about the characters and the performances of the cast. In my opinion, the audience will probably come for Clooney but they should stay for everyone else. However, out of a long list of incredibly distinguished talent it was Alden Ehrenreich who stole the show; his character was well written and his performance was engaging and very charming.
Hail, Ceasar! was fun and entertaining, but I do understand why the lack of storyline would put some cinema goers off. I personally thought the script was great, the movie was very visually pleasing, the cast was amazing and there were plenty of laugh out loud moments as you’d expect from the Coen Brothers.