Film Review: Hail, Caesar!

“Squint Against The Grandeur..!”

When it comes to the Coen Brothers, there is no doubting their ability in the art of film-making even if sometimes their films begin to dwell into the realm of complete mayhem, with films such as Burn After Reading showing their tendency to revel in too much kookiness being on similar wave-lines with cinematic sludges such as their remake of True Grit, a film that can be applauded for its’ cast but yawn inducing nonetheless. On the other hand, films such as No Country For Old Men, Fargo and my own personal favourite Inside Llewyn Davis showcase the brothers’ love for cinema, a love that is no doubt reciprocated within their latest adventure Hail, Caesar! a comedic drama focusing on a day in the life of Capitol Pictures fixer Eddie Mannix, portrayed in a near-perfect fashion by Coen mainstay Josh Brolin supported by a mind-boggling rafter of stars including George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlet Johansson, and Channing Tatum as well as Alden Ehrenreich as the “singing cowboy” Hobie Doyle. Stars galore right? But does the film match the greatness of its’ payroll? Not exactly.

Amongst the damsels in distress, replacement actors, an attempt to get a mother to adopt her own child and contemplating a move to another place of working life, all of which encompass one day in the life of Brolin’s Mannix, the core plot-line amongst the many that are brought to life within the film’s magical air of 1950’s Hollywood is the kidnapping of famous star Baird Whitlock, played in full-on comedic fashion by Clooney, by the mysterious cult calling themselves “The Future”. Although this particular plot-line establishes itself as the core of the movie, aside from the involvement of Clooney, it is strangely the weakest within the film, resulting in a through line that attempts to hold the film together but instead results in a film weaker than the sum of its’ parts. It almost feels like a Coenzian (I’m coining that phrase now) wishlist of stars playing their part in the dreamland of a Hollywood in the mid-20th century of which the brothers wished they were part of, something that on the face of it isn’t bad at all, but for some strange reason, the love I wish I had for it just isn’t there and Hail, Caesar! ultimately feels like something of a let down regarding the talent on display.

 Among the great things in the movie is the introduction to Tatum’s character with an all-singing all-dancing routine which is bound to capture the hearts of most audiences whilst the story of Doyle is particularly captivating, with his confrontation with Fienne’s Laurence Laurentz easily one of the most quotable of the year so far. Hill barely has two words to say and is just completely wasted whilst Frances McDormand continues to cash in on her marital duties and appears ever so briefly in the husky air of the back-end editing room; a very strange scene indeed. Hail, Caesar! has a few laughs, a variety of chuckles and a tendency to bring out a smile on occasion yet the film just isn’t the masterpiece it perhaps could have been. Better than Burn After Reading? God, yes. As good as Inside Llewyn Davis? Not at all. It’s solid from the Coen’s, just not ground-breaking.

Overall Score: 6/10

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Posted on 09/03/2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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