Hail, Caesar! Review
A jumbled mess with some gems
Hail, Caesar! is a Coen brother production — Joel and Ethan Coen, specifically. That implies a particular tone. Not as striking or as obvious as a presence like Wes Anderson, but it is there. A certain quirk and vaguely non sequitur style is present to Coen brother films and Hail, Caesar! is no exception.
The plot is not hard to explain per-say, I mean, it is straight forward as far as Coen brothers go.
It is about a Hollywood Production director played by Josh Brolin trying to manage the production of a grand film about Jesus Christ starring a famous but slightly washed-out actor while handling the careers of other eccentric actors and also trying to salvage his own personal life. That was a lot.
But there is a slight focus on one aspect. The main thread is concerned with that famous actor — played by George Clooney.
The character, Baird Whitlock, gets kidnapped by a mysterious group. I won’t ruin the reveal of what ‘group’ takes the actor hostage, but it honestly wasn’t what I was expecting and it was kind of interesting in a weird way.
Kind of interesting in a weird way pretty much sums up the movie. I emphasize kind of. Yes, there’s a lot of odd things in the movie and mid-century Hollywood throwbacks that are amusing, and there are a few scenes concerning religion and politics that are genuinely hilarious, but the movie really meanders around. I felt like it was trying to make a point — there were these different plots and threads all circling around the same topic of dichotomy and perspective and it never really made a statement or said anything coherent about it. I was waiting for some big tie-together of it all, but it never came.
My enjoyment never really rose higher than a well-this-is-better-than-nothing. It wasn’t boring, but I wasn’t really entertained by it. So to put it bluntly: better than watching paint dry, but that doesn’t mean much.
I was disappointed with Hail, Caesar!. On paper, Hail, Caesar! could have been a fantastic Coen comedy. But it didn’t come together for me. I don’t really recommend it, unless the cast and aesthetic strongly interest you or you are a die-hard Coen fan. In which case, you probably already saw it and I don’t know why you’re reading this. I wasn’t a fan — doesn’t mean you won’t be, but that’s my opinion.