Movie Review: Hail, Caesar! (2016)


With the Coen brothers directing and all-star cast including George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton (to name a few), I had high hopes for Hail, Caesar! , but, unfortunately, I was very disappointed.  I thought it was going to be a comedy about a movie studio being caught up in some wild “only-the-Coen-brothers-could-think-of-that” plot with a laugh around every corner.  But it turned out to be a slow paced movie with a thin plot and a only few funny parts (most of which were shown in the trailer).

The plot focuses on a movie studio executive (Josh Brolin) struggling with his decision to keep his current stressful job of trying to manage all the shenanigans at the movie studio or to take a new “cush” job with Lockheed.  The majority of the movie is just background noise illustrating all the shenanigans he has to try to keep under control on a daily basis.

My favorite parts of the movie were actually scenes of old time movies being filmed on the studio lot – an old style swim ballet (with Scarlett Johansson), a sailors’ song and dance number (with Channing Tatum) and a classy drama with the director (Ralph Fiennes) trying to make it work with a young, inexperienced cowboy (Alden Ehrenreich) cast as the star.

I will say all casting was superb – Josh Brolin as the  movie exec, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum and Alden Ehrenreich as the movie stars, Tilda Swinton playing twin sister Hollywood reporters, Ralph Fiennes as a movie director , plus Jonah Hill and Frances McDormand in bit roles – all terrific.  I especially enjoyed Scarlett Johansson’s role and would have liked to have seen more of her character.  The makeup, costumes, sets and cinematography were also superb.  It was a beautiful movie to watch.

I’m afraid the blame for this movie not working lies squarely with the Coen brothers.  There was just not enough of a plot or a story to give this film enough “oomph”.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. CineMuse says:

    I’m not sure the Coen Brothers ever intended this to be a story-driven film; nor is it a character-led film. IMO, its about celebrating and laughing at a global cultural institution represented by the phrase “Hollywood dream”. Great blog you have here; I’m now a follower.


    1. tracyfillip says:

      Thanks for the comment on the movie and your compliment on the blog. I’m happy to have a new follower! I follow your blog too. I’m glad you enjoyed the movie and interpreted it in a different way than I did. It was definitely fun to watch, I just came away a little empty. I can’t wait to see what the Coen brothers do next!

      Liked by 1 person

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