Hail, Caesar! was a beautifully lavish look into the big budget movie studios of the 1950’s. Much like most Cohen Brothers movies, I feel that this is one that will grow on me over time. On first viewing, some of the jokes fell flat and with the inclusion of many set pieces, the pacing felt off throughout its runtime.
The movie looks incredible and a lot of time has gone into crafting this movie to look like the technicolour era it’s parodying. We travel though many back lots that are filming many different styles of movie. We are treated to seeing these set pieces as the moviegoers would see them; which particularly brings the laughs when the onscreen personas of these actors and actresses are widely different from their actual personality.
Although these set pieces where nice to watch and fun to see, especially Channing Tatum dance around as a sailor, it did detract from the plot quite heavily. It seems as though the Coen Brothers had a really great idea to show all of these scenes but the execution just makes them all feel out of place. This is especially prevalent due to the fact that many of these set pieces are of many different genres. This added a slightly odd tone to the movie, but it was something that I thought was rather fresh and quite frankly funny. I think I saw this as a negative as I quite honestly didn’t know what to expect at all.
As for the cast, they all delivered their performances rather well, however there were a few standouts. Ralph Fiennes delivered a wonderfully hilarious comedic performance, something that I whole heartedly welcomed, especially so soon after The Grand Budapest Hotel. Tilda Swinton’s dual casting as two identical twin reports was also pure brilliance. My favourite performance by far has to come from the actor I least expected, Alden Ehrenreich. Ehrenreich as Hobie Doyle, a heartthrob western star, was side-splitting. His complete lack of awareness made him goofy as well as charming.
One thing that does stand out when watching this movie is that I got a strong feeling that there were a lot of in jokes for the movie business. It didn’t happen much but there was a underlying feeling that I was missing out on some of the jokes due to my lack of understanding of how the movie business works. Another issue that arose was the so called ‘star studded cast’. The trailer showed a much bigger cast than the film ‘actually’ had, the one scene you see with Jonah Hill, it the only scene he is in. Not even that, the only line he has in the trialer is the only line he has in the movie. Not that this is a huge issue, but it did have an effect on how I initially perceieved the movie.
This review is rather short and rather late since the movie has been released. This is quite frankly because I don’t know what to say about it. It was a funny film in both senses of the word; it was humorous and odd. I’m sure much like many other Coen Brothers movies that I’ll enjoy it more and more every time I watch it. However, for a single viewing, it was a hell of a lot to take in; were that it t’were to simple