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Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Hail, Caesar!

Director:
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Starring:
George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Alden Ehrenreich

Other notable appearances:
Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Alex Karpovsky, Robert Picardo, Christopher Lambert, Wayne Knight, Jeff Lewis, Michael Gambon, Dolph Lundgren’s silhouette

Running time:
106 minutes

 

A day in the life of 1950s Hollywood fixer Eddie Mannix. Eddie’s day includes retrieving a kidnapped actor; keeping the kidnapping secret from twin reporters; covering up an actress’s out of wedlock pregnancy; helping an actor and director from different backgrounds to work together; and making it home for dinner.

This cartoonish look at 1950s Hollywood had massive potential. The brilliance of the Coen brothers, an outstanding cast and a fun time period. Unfortunately, I was left quite disappointed. To be honest, dear reader, I considered several times throughout the film leaving because I was downright bored.

The characters are lacklustre. I didn’t care about any of them except Brolin’s Mannix. This is really only because he is on the screen the longest and is the only character with any development. Ehrenreich was interesting to watch as Western actor Doyle. However, I still didn’t really care about anything that happened to the character.

Five main actors have head shots on the poster for Hail, Caesar! Jonah Hill is in the film for about 60 seconds. Scarlett Johansson has perhaps three minutes of screen time as DeeAnna Moran — one of the more entertaining side characters. Channing Tatum has one musical number (albeit this has some incredible tap-dancing) and then maybe five minutes of screen time after that. This is doubly disappointing as the trailer I had seen for Hail, Caesar! made it seem like these characters were integral to the main kidnapping story. Only one of them is and they don’t even share any screen time with the abducted Baird Whitlock (Clooney).

Hail, Caesar! is far too long given how little character development or story is actually told. There are a couple of weak laughs but as a whole the story feels unfinished. “It all takes place in only one day!” some might say. True. So does Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and that is highly entertaining. I wouldn’t contemplate walking out of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

There are clever little things to keep an eye out for when watching Hail, Caesar! Fans of puns will enjoy the fun nod to spaghetti westerns. Harry Potter fans may recognise a familiar voice narrating the film. Fans of the golden age of musicals will appreciate the nods to actors from the time period.

Overall Hail, Caesar! is easily forgettable. An underused cast, too much plot noise, a mish-mash of stories and too little reason to like any of the characters. I’d recommend watching some of the actual films from the 1950s that Hail, Caesar! attempts to satire instead.

Rating: 2/5

“It’s complicated.”

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