What kind of world do we live in when I’m abut to give that same rating to a Coens film, that I gave to The Huntsman: Winter’s War?
Hail, Caesar! stars Josh Brolin (W., No Country for Old Men), George Clooney (Gravity, Ocean’s Eleven), Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures, Stoker) and is directed by Ethan and Joel Coen.
Eddie Mannix (Brolin) is a Hollywood fixer for a studio in the 1950s, when one of his biggest movie stars is kidnapped he must work to get him back and finish the Hail, Caesar! picture. Meanwhile an aspiring actor (Ehrenreich) lands a big film with one of the top directors in Hollywood.
I’m a huge fan of the Coens and although I don’t love all their films, every time they have a new one coming out, I have to see. It took me a really long time to finally see Hail, Caesar! because I didn’t hear many good things about it. Well now that I have seen it, I can give you my take on the film.
This film has a huge cast full of wonderful actors but the two who stood out to me were Josh Brolin and Alden Ehrenreich. Brolin always delivers in everything he’s in and I enjoyed his character in this. He works really well with the Coen brothers and this time around he got to play with their dialogue and have fun with the role.
Alden Ehrenreich is awesome! A few years ago a lot of people (myself included) thought Dane DeHaan was going to be the next DiCaprio but I think Ehrenreich has the best shot at that, especially after landing the Han Solo role. He had the best character to work with, so he had an advantage over everyone else but he shined so much in this film and was one of the only stories I cared about. He has one scene with Ralph Fiennes that is hilarious and is a clip I can see myself watching several times on YouTube.
Hail Caesar! is a Coens film so you know with out a doubt you’re going to get two things, snappy dialogue and beautiful cinematography. Both are very present here and they were the main aspect of this film that kept me interested. The way most people have been describing this film, is a love letter to 50s Hollywood and they’re exactly right. I’m a huge fan of classic cinema, including the behind the scenes elements and aesthetically the Coens nailed it. I loved the homages to the golden age of cinema and really enjoyed the overall scenery. The dialogue is smart, witty and adds layers to every character you encounter. Like all Coen films, Hail Caesar! is definitely one I will revisit because there’s always something you miss first time around.
As much as I enjoyed the nods to classic cinema, it was also part of the main problem with the film. While the Coens were very busy writing their love letter, they forgot about writing a story. There wasn’t really anything to the story of this film or any depth to the characters. It’s probably the only Coen film that doesn’t go any deeper than the surface level. I thought the main story was going to be about Clooney getting kidnapped but that takes the back seat, so they can throw in an old school dance number or obscure references only a few people will get. This feels like the Coens made a film purely for themselves and if that’s the case more power to them but as a fan of the directors, this film did nothing for me.
Hail, Caesar has a cast of several A list actors and for the majority of films that would be brilliant but in this case I think it worked against the film in a big way. You had everyone from Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and many others, all playing bit roles and never go any further than one or two scenes. When you see a Ralph Fiennes or Jonah Hill, you can’t help but get excited to see a cool character but instead you get nothing. Everyone was great but could have been played by almost anyone. Even just someone looking on IMDB before seeing the film, would be disappointed with the star-studded cast not really have much to do. All these actors never come together or amount to anything and the story feels non-existent and incoherent.
This film had the making to be a Coens classic but ultimately amounts to nothing. Even when it ended, it was very anticlimactic and had no punch to it. It got so boring the longer the film went on, to the point it felt like it lulled itself to sleep and just ended. Like I said the film looks amazing but if you’re looking for character and story, Hail, Caesar! has none.
Have you seen Hail, Caesar and what did you think of it? Also what’s your favorite Coen Brothers film?