Directors: Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Run Time: 1h 46m
Hollywood: Hail, Caesar!
Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is the studio “fixer” for Capitol Pictures in the 1950s. Whether America’s sweetheart has to conceal a pregnancy, or the king of the Western is transitioning to serious dramas, or Hollywood’s biggest star has been kidnapped…Eddie Mannix is the man to set it all straight.
That’s basically it.
Therein lies your problem. Regardless of how the film was marketed, the entire movie is basically all about Eddie. Except his job isn’t really a job and the stars aren’t really in trouble. All of the problems that arise eventually work themselves out and it has little to do with Eddie’s influence. Furthermore, we learn way more about the actors and actresses he is “saving” than we probably need to. The result of too much setup, for George Clooney’s character in particular, took away from Eddie’s. I didn’t get a chance to care about Eddie because I was too busy not caring about the other characters and their first-world problems.
Why this film was named Hail, Caesar! is beyond me. It’s the name of the film Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is working on when he is kidnapped. So what? Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) is directing Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) in a film called Merrily We Dance. Why not use that title instead? Because George Clooney is a bigger star and you want to trick the audience into thinking your movie is as important as George? It’s not. To suggest that all of the other storylines would not exist without Hail, Caesar! or that they are any less important is a lie. Eddie’s is the most important but you won’t get a chance to realize it.
The premise of getting to peak behind the mysterious Hollywood that’s long gone would’ve been great. Too bad Hail, Caesar! doesn’t deliver. In a time when you know way more about celebrities than you really need to, the romance of a 1950s Hollywood is intoxicating. (Wouldn’t it be nice to not know about Kim Kardashian’s butt? Or to just not know Kim Kardashian at all?) So why couldn’t you have given us that movie, Coen Brothers? Why did you have to put these random stories together with Elmer’s glue and call it art? Nothing in this movie flowed. It felt like each Coen had a good idea for a scene in a movie and they weakly strung them together. Too bad they were both writing different movies and didn’t bother to question the issue. One was a quirky communist conspiracy. The other was an odd filmmaker comedy. The only common thread was they were both bound to be strange movies, but it’s even stranger that they were put together.
The only fun to be had is watching Channing Tatum perform an ensemble song and dance number with some sailors in a bar. The end.
The acting was mostly good. From such a seasoned roster of talent you’d expect nothing less. Ralph Fiennes has my vote for Best Performance, but of course his screen time was extremely limited. That’s not to say anyone else was bad, it’s just that none of their characters made sense or added value. Mr. Fiennes was a director and I understood why he was in his given scenes–whether they fit with the rest of the movie or not.
When I saw this movie in the theaters, there were 5 people total. One man walked out somewhere in the middle and I wish I had left with him. If I had been watching Hail, Caesar! at home, I would have turned it off and not given it a second thought. Unless you are a true fan of the Coen Brothers, do yourself a favor and don’t waste your time here.
You know what’s a great movie about what it’s like when movie-making becomes a lot less glamorous? Tropic Thunder. It’s also ridiculous, but in all the right ways.