Release Year: 2016
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, Frances McDormand, Jonah Hill, Veronica Osorio, Alison Pill, Heather Goldenhersch, Max Baker
Rating: Nominated for 1 Oscar: Best Production Design.
Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), the fixer for a major Hollywood studio, works hard to keep the studio’s stars in line and has to work even harder when one of their biggest stars, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), is abducted.
The Coens have a knack for making entertaining films and once in a while they make a masterpiece. Despite high hopes based on the trailer for a funny yarn set in a highly stylish 1950s Hollywood, Hail Caesar! is not quite as good as one might have hoped for. There are great sequences, good character moments, and gorgeous set pieces, but the film’s biggest drawback is the lack of a plot. Yes, the story is tied together by Josh Brolin’s (True Grit, 2010) Mannix, but there are many subplots and lots of jumping from one thing to another. Initially, the film sets up George Clooney’s (O, Brother Where Art Thou?, 2000) chracter subplot as the main one, but for large parts of the film that plotline feels forgotten and the resolution is a bit vague. Clooney, though, is quite funny as the celebrated (and talented star) and his gullability is quite funny. Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story, 2018) i hilarious as the charming western star who find himself completely out of his depth when he is asked to subsitute for another actor in a serious drama. There are nice little moments here and there, and the actors are all good and the stellar cast give the film a sense of the flamboyant, but ultimately the story is simply not that captivating. Good, but best reserved for Coen fans.
The real life Eddie Mannix died in 1963. Among his pallbearers was James Stewart.
Picture Copyright: UIP