You never quite know what you’re going get with the Coen brothers, but I went into this one expecting quirky, and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, not expecting much in the way of plot or character development, I got to sit back and enjoy the fun of a dozen or so little vignettes, following various characters during the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood.
The central character, Eddie (Josh Brolin), is a fixer, and it’s a couple of days in his life that we follow as he indeed fixes various issues with his studio’s movie stars, be they kidnapped, pregnant, or transplanted out of their comfort zones.
Other famous faces fill the ranks – George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton – with others (the Highlander-combo of Christopher Lambert and Clancy Brown, for instance) in more cameo roles. Spot-the-star is amusing, as is spotting the real actor they’re sort-of playing: Tatum is vaguely modelled on Gene Kelly, perhaps (and his dance scene is, as ever, a high point) and Johansson Ester Williams.
However, few get much screen time, or character development, as it’s all rather a collection of scenes played for the laughs and gentle homage-stroke-mockery of the era, be it the communism, homophobia, sexism, or religion (one of the funnier scenes has stereotypes of four religious leaders, arguing the nature of God). There’s no message here, though, it’s more a capturing of the (perceived) atmosphere, in a heightened, almost-but-not-quite-cartoonish fashion.
Go in with the right expectations, and Hail, Caesar! is a lot of fun, and very stylishly done.
Released: 4th March 2016
Viewed: 4th March 2016
Running time: 106 minutes
My rating: 7/10