Hail, Caesar! the latest film by the notorious Coen Brothers, takes us through a glorious yet fantasised look at the golden age of Hollywood. With a cast that would make just about any other director jealous, the Coen Brothers have made yet another outstanding film, but as per usual, this film may not be for everyone.
So, is it any good? With a back catalogue boasting Academy Award winning films, with Academy Award winning actors, there always seems to be a bit of buzz whenever it is announced that we will have a new film from the brothers. However, with the release of this film the buzz was significantly lowered after first screenings, making the rest of us wonder, have they finally run out of steam? Not a chance! Well, not to me at least. While this film definitely takes a turn for the weird, the brothers still managed to do something that most major studio pictures lack nowadays. Make something entertaining AND original. While I understand a lot of the negative reviews I have read, I think it is simply a case of people expecting the same old boring storylines we’ve had time and again. This film takes us on a different type of journey. Channing Tatum has stated that he sees the movie as a dream walk through the golden days of Hollywood through the Coen Brothers eyes, and that’s exactly what this is.
The story follows several characters throughout, the main story being about Josh Brolin. The man responsible for day to day operations and looking after the studio’s actors. When the studio’s star (George Clooney) is kidnapped, he must keep the kidnapping out of the gossip columns and get him returned before production of the year’s biggest film Hail, Caesar! is halted. Meanwhile, several other actors have problems of their own that he must solve, while also trying to find time to see his family once in a while.
The best thing about this movie, that makes it stand out to me, is that the trailer for the film gave away absolutely nothing to indicate where the story might go. By halfway through the film, nearly all of the clips from the trailer had been shown, leaving me in anticipation for where it would end up. It’s a luxury that not many films have nowadays due to over-promoting, and the fear that the general population will not see what they don’t understand. As mentioned earlier, the cast in this film is huge. Unfortunately, due to time restraints, we don’t get too much use of some of the characters. Some of the stories are left unfinished, or referenced but not seen. Highlights include an amazing tap-dancing bar scene with Channing Tatum, an almost unrecognisable Christopher Lambert, and a greatly underused Jonah Hill. Even tiny roles are taken by recognisable faces, but I won’t spoil the surprises. Scarlett Johansson plays a great part, a rough around the edges starlet, and fits the bill perfectly as a 50’s leading lady. Newcomer Alden Ehrenreich takes a little bit to get going, but once he does proves he belongs on screen next to the big names.
While this film may certainly not please everybody, I think lovers of classic film, or the mystique of old Hollywood will have a great time. It’s filled with comedy and lines not quite as memorable as The Big Lebowski, but entertaining none the less. I could go on, but I don’t want to spoil how it ends. Just don’t expect a giant climatic ending, it’s the Coen Brothers. I warn that you may feel slightly underwhelmed as the credits start to roll, but let it sit with you for a minute before you jump to any conclusions.
HAIL, CAESAR! is out this Thursday, February 25th.