Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Veronica Osorio, Heather Goldenhersh, Alison Pill, Max Baker, Clancy Brown, David Krumholtz, Robert Picardo, Christopher Lambert, Fred Melamed, Jack Huston, Michael Gambon
Seen on: 21.2.2016
Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) fixes problems for a big movie studio. And boy, are there ever problems: Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), the biggest star they currently have, is missing, possibly abducted. Star DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) is pregnant und unmarried. Director Laurnce Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) needs a new star for his film and the only guy available is Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), talented stunt cowboy but acting is a whole other story. And the twin journalists Thora and Thessaly Thacker (Tilda Swinton and Tilda Swinton) are snooping around for a story, each in her own way and for her own column. And if all of that wasn’t enough, Eddie has an attractive job offer on the table he needs to decide on soon.
After the recent rather serious outings of the Coen brothers, Hail, Caesar! is a return to comedy, and a very successful one at that. The film is a romp through the studio cinema of the 50s, with the only drawback that they’re reproducing the white-maleness of those films as well. Other than that, though, it is simply fun.
Let’s talk about my misgivings with the film first, so I can then start gushing: the almost complete lack of people of color and the dismissive way the film treats the few women that are in the film. The few women who actually made it into the film are paid much less attention than the men. DeAnna’s story is a minor sidenote as are the journalistic exploits of the Thackers. All the other women are footnotes at best, with Alison Pill’s Mrs Mannix’s Stepford-Wifeiness being a particular slap in the face. But at least they made it into the film. As far as people of color are concerned, there are two Chinese people working in a Chinese restaurant. Period. And that just shouldn’t happen.
But despite of that, I did enjoy the film. The Coen Brother’s off-beat humor might be more on-beat in this one than in their other films, but they did keep their sense for the absurd and they still manage to create the perfect atmosphere for the story they want to tell. In this case, this is a completely trivial story which might not be everybody’s cup of tea. But you don’t always need depth, trivialities can work just as well.
Of course with a cast like that you would have to really try to make the film not work. Both George Clooney and Josh Brolin should make more comedies, but the particular standouts, for me, were Channing Tatum, who should do nothing but comedies ever again (maybe dancing in comedies, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go) (seriously he just needed to move his head in this one to have me in stitches), and Alden Ehrenreich, who so far didn’t really impress me all that much [although he was one of the few good things about Beautiful Creatures] but who stole every single scene he was in here (so adorable! so funny! so naive! I just wanted to squeeze him). Another honorable mention has to got Christopher Lambert, who actually acted.
Altogether the film is fun and entertaining and the perfect film if you just want to relax for a couple of hours. That’s rare to come by and I’d have no problem watching it again in a heartbeat.