Hail, Caesar! Review
Hail, Caesar! is a 2016 comedy film directed by the Coen Brothers and starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich and Channing Tatum among others. It is such a disappointing movie.
The film is basically a satire of the Hollywood film industry during the 1950s. And though the subject matter is right up my valley, I found the end product to be very annoying. That is mainly because of the Coen brothers as I have never been a fan of their directing style and I certainly do not like it here. The film is literally a mockery of Hollywood and classic movies and that I really disliked. I am a fan of this era and the fact that the movie basically trashed it is the major reason why I did not like it. It is okay to criticize Hollywood and their movies, but it is not okay to present it in such a black-and-white manner with no gray areas whatsoever. They just mock movies and they never show them in any positive light whatsoever and that is really troublesome.
Another problem here is the story or the lack of it to be exact. Yes, there isn’t any a story to be had in Hail, Caesar! and the film is so odd in its execution with no main storyline at all and literally consisting of scene after scene, a joke after joke with no plot or point to it whatsoever. The film never has any message or statement to give, it is just empty. And even comedies should have a story or a point which is why the movie fails.
The characters are a mixed bag as is the entire flick. Some of them are boring and forgettable, some are annoying, but others are surprisingly sympathetic and interesting. Eddie Mannix is boring and the fact that he is the protagonist here is problematic as he is so dull and quite forgettable when compared to the other characters. Baird is so-so, but Laurence is somewhat interesting. DeeAnna has her moments, but still should have been much better utilized. The Thacker twins are so-so and Burt is quite offensive. But Hobie is the saving grace here and probably the finest part of the entire movie. His character is so realistic, but also so charming and likable and he had the most laughs without a doubt.
The acting is quite good and Alden Ehrenreich in particular stole the show with such a good performance. Clooney’s performance is typical and far from his best work, but Ralph Fiennes is pretty good and Tilda Swinton is also solid. Scarlett Johansson is solid, but could have been better and the same can be said for Channing Tatum. But both of these actors are perfect for these roles in the looks department which is a testament to some really good casting.
The score is solid and that one song is pretty good here and perfectly recreates the fifties. However, that sequence bothered me so much as it is basically a giant hate letter to musicals. It is so offensive to the point of being hard to watch. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to any fans of classic cinema as the film basically ridicules those movies. It shows us how Hollywood only made westerns, musicals and epics during the decade and that is not true. And those genres are so ridiculed that I hated this movie for doing such a thing.
But there is one thing that Hail, Caesar! definitely gets right and that is the feel and tone of the film which is very light and charming and wonderfully recreates the decade. But the attention to detail still could have been better. The cinematography is the strongest point here as some scenes just look beautiful. it is so well shot and filmed with some scenes having a wonderful Technicolor feel to it and that was just great and I wish the entire movie was like that. I wish that it honored the classics more instead of just trashing them.
The dialogue is solid and the pacing is okay, but it was unfortunately rather boring in its second half. The film definitely has a certain charm to it at times and that I liked. But the humor is so problematic. Some moments are charming and a bit funny, but for the most time, the film is just not funny. The humor is so forced, at times even weird and it was filled with so much anger and mockery that I just found it annoying. The film is just annoying to watch and although definitely not bad, it is far from good either and it is such a decidedly odd, frustrating experience.