High quality pointlessness.
As a pitch, it sounds like a sure-fire success. Esteemed directors The Coen Brothers, an unlikely mix of actors delivering superb performances, the glamour of old Hollywood, and a bit of lighthearted wit thrown in – what’s not to love? But in spite of all of this, somehow Hail, Caesar! manages to underwhelm.
Following on from ‘Trumbo’, this is the second film in the last few months about the blacklisted communist screenwriters of Hollywood. Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a ‘fixer’ working for Capitol Pictures. It’s up to him to make sure all of their brightest stars are kept out of trouble, namely Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson), Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) and Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum).
Alden Ehrenreich’s performance is especially impressive, I hope we see a lot more of him in the years to come.
I see that on IMDB Hail, Caesar! is currently rated overall at 7 out of 10 and 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. This makes me wonder if people feel obliged to like it just because it’s by the Coen Brothers, in a sort of ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ situation. If so, I don’t mind being the person to point out that the king is actually naked.
Lighthearted films can work, but there isn’t enough laugh-out-loud comedy in this to give it the push it really needs to feel worthwhile. In spite of all the merits it can boast on paper, I can honestly say I would feel rather shortchanged if I had paid to see this.
Hail, Caesar! premieres in Sweden on February 19.
Images © Universal Pictures