Skip to content

Hail, Caesar!

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 2.57.03 PM

There’s something resembling a plot in “Hail Caesar,” as well, but the Coen brothers seem even less interested in investing that plot with urgency than whatever overpaid tool directed “Deadpool.” Really, you see all you need to in the trailer: George Clooney plays a big Hollywood star who gets kidnapped by communists, and Josh Brolin is the fixer who has to get him back. He does. That’s not a spoiler, because it’s so utterly unimportant to the movie. (And besides, he’s George Clooney. You think the bad guys are going to kill him?)

What you don’t see in the trailer is all the goofy, oddball stuff that goes on in and around this flimsy little plot, all the stuff that makes this movie fun, and all the stuff that  the Coen brothers seem to care about more than kidnapping. Really, the kidnapping is just an excuse to put Clooney in a room with a bunch of intellectuals so we can listen to them babble nonsensically about dialectics and means of production and the Common Man. It’s a funny scene.

What makes this movie hum are the setpieces, like watching Channing Tatum dance it up in a sailor outfit while singing “No Dames.” Or Frances McDormand almost get eaten by her machinery in the editing room. Or Scarlett Johansson in a truly fantastic synchronized swimming number. Josh Brolin navigates his way through it all, trying to keep Clooney’s abduction from the gossip columnists (Tilda Swinton and Tilda Swinton) while mulling over a lucrative job offer from Lockheed. Does he really want to give up all this for more money and less stress? Airplanes may be the wave of the future, but are there any dancing sailors or swimming divas in those hangars? Of course not. And there’s more to a satisfying job than the money.

I’ll confess that there might be a point to “Hail, Caesar” that I didn’t grasp. Brolin spends an awful lot of time weighing the morality of his choices, and goes to confession even more often than his priest thinks is appropriate. The Coens go to great lengths to show us that he is a good, decent, thoughtful, principled man, who cares about his family and his job, and loves what he does. Perhaps this is where “Caesar” becomes more personal, and more of a filmmaker’s manifesto: Hollywood is a crazy, shallow, bizarre world, but good people call it home.


Be Sociable, Share!

Posted in All Reviews, by Will Krischke.

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

(never shared)

or, reply to this post via trackback.