“Hail, Caesar!” Review

5 March, 2016

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Screenwriters: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Director of Photography: Roger Deakins
Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes

Synopsis: A fixer who runs errands for a major Hollywood studio during the 1950s takes on a multitude of assignments as part of his job. After a film star is kidnapped while on set, the fixer must scrape together $100,000 worth of ransom money so he can pay off the Communists holding the actor captive.

Hail Caesar Review:

Out to appeal to the fanboys who already worship the ground they walk on, “Hail, Caesar!” is another exercise in self-indulgence from the Coen brothers. With references made to the Classical Hollywood studio system and constant pokes and nods directed at a world now forgotten by many, the film plays out as a deliberate anti-movie comprised of bits and pieces that fail to come together as a coherent whole in this notably mediocre addition to the Coen universe.

Although homage can be a great tool for filmmakers looking to tap into a pre-existing set of codes and conventions, “Hail, Caesar!” refuses to comment on its intentions as the Coens joke and play around with lavish studio sets with very little interest in creating a satisfying outcome. It’s a film that’s more alienating than inclusive for most viewers and it only confuses and frustrates those who are not well-versed with the brothers’ approach to comedy.

Even for someone who can appreciate the references made to biblical epics and classical musicals, “Hail, Caesar!” is still both a chore and a bore to sit through as its sickening sense of self-entitlement comes across in an awfully smug manner despite the unquestioned level of intelligence behind such a complex product of the postmodern mind-set. The casting of Channing Tatum in a Gene Kelly role is amusing for a split second, as are the nods made to films like “Ben-Hur” and “The Ten Commandments,” but the movie never feels like great filmmaking in its own right as it’s mostly offhand and time-consuming even for those with an awareness of everything and everyone it pokes fun at.

“Hail, Caesar!” is a film so blinded by its belief in its own artistic value that it practically revels in its own arrogance. It’s a film that openly chooses to shut out anyone who doesn’t already adore everything about the Coens and it’s arguably one of the dampest entries in their rather outstanding back-catalogue of movies thus far.



Review Date
Hail, Caesar!