A solid film that could have been great – given the talent involved.
It’s perhaps not fair to compare a movie to a filmmakers’ previous offerings, but when you’re talking about four-time Oscar-winners Joel and Ethan Coen – who brought us classics such as No Country for Old Men, True Grit and Fargo – you expect a certain kind of quality.
Hollywood satire Hail, Caesar! has some outstanding moments – but as a whole is a little disappointing.
The comedy that opened the Berlin Festival is set in 1950s Hollywood, at the height of anti-communist hysteria. The lead character, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), is a fictionalised version of the real-life ‘studio fixer’ at MGM. If a scandal took place in or around the set, Mannix was the man who would either keep the story out of the papers or spin it to the studio’s advantage.
Some of the jobs that he needs to ‘fix’ in this mystery-comedy include finding kidnapped goofy movie star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), putting a positive spin on the problematic pregnancy of DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson), and convincing highly-respected filmmaker Laurence Lorenz (Ralph Fiennes) that a foolish teen idol (Alden Ehrenreich) is the man that should lead in his latest movie (which of course he shouldn’t).
The film crosses back and forth between these notable sub-plots – but never really catches fire at any point despite some clever touches.
And just because these A-list celebs are plastered all over the film posters in huge letters, sadly doesn’t mean they have a huge role within the movie – as a lot of the characters are sorely underused.
‘Less’ stars would have certainly meant ‘more’ on this particular occasion – as some are simply not given enough screen time – and you can’t help but feel they were thrown in to sell more tickets.
But with some trademark Coen Brothers’ flashes of genius this still offers something different to your average blockbuster.
CAST: GEORGE CLOONEY, JOSH BROLIN, ALDEN EHRENREICH, CHANNING TATUM, FRANCES McDORMAND, JONAH HILL, RALPH FIENNES, SCARLETT JOHANSSON, CHRISTOPHER LAMBERT & TILDA SWINTON
RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 46 MINS
SEE IF YOU LIKED: O BROTHER, WHERE ARE THOU? & BURN AFTER READING
DIRECTOR: JOEL & ETHAN COEN
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