Hail Caesar! – Film Review

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen

Writers: Joel and Ethan Coen

Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton

Rating: ★★★½

A pure love letter to the studio era of Hollywood. Hail Caesar follows roughly twenty-seven hours in the life of Edward ‘Eddie’ Mannix (Josh Brolin, Avengers), a ‘fixer’ for a Hollywood studio. While the film is completely fictional, Edie Mannix was a real-life ‘fixer’ during the studio era. His job was to keep the press positive about the stars and films. There are claims that Mannix arranged abortions, fake marriages and even murder. There is a conspiracy that he is responsible for the death of George Reeves, who played Superman in the 1950s TV series.

While Mannix is the central character of Hail Caesar!, the film isn’t just about him. There are moments of full blown musical numbers, like the epic musicals of the 1950s, a stunt orientated western film being filmed and the star of the western moving into drama films. There is also an unmarried actress, DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit), who’s pregnant. Mannix has to find away to keep DeeAnna’s pure image, which could hurt her career and the studio’s image.

The main problem Mannix faces, is that the star, Brad Whitlock (George Clooney, O’ Brother Where Art Thou), of the studios biggest picture of the year, Hail Caesar, has been kidnapped. There’s a ransom note from a group known only as The Future and Mannix has to try to resolve this while also keeping on top of everything else happening at the studio to ensure that two journalists, Thora and Thessaly Thacker (both played by Tilda Swinton, Moonrise Kingdom), don’t write about any of the events.

The Coen Brothers have created yet another wacky screwball comedy that they are well known for. Hail Caesar! isn’t as funny as some of their previous films, but it has all the heart and eccentric characters that you’d expect from them. The cast is all brilliant and it’s an amazing line-up. Joining those already mentioned are Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter), Frances McDormand (Fargo), Channing Tatum (Step Up), Alison Pill (Scott Pilgrim), Jonah Hill (The Wolf on Wall Street), Christopher Lambert (Highlander), and Michael Gambon (Harry Potter) as the narrator. It’s an exceptional line up and they’re all on top form. It feels like every scene there’s a new famous and instantly recognisable face.

The film is just a pure joy to watch. It’s full of great moments and the films that are being made feel like classics you would want to watch afterwards. It’s a true homage to the past and spoofs the industry with great passion. It isn’t as funny as it should be, but there is still a lot to love about Hail Caesar!. It’s definitely one of the stand out film from The Coen Brothers from their careers.

About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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