The Coen Brothers are some of the filmmakers that rarely ever make a bad film. They do different kind of genres all well to. From drama to comedy they more times than not do good work. Hail, Caesar! is far from a bad film at all, as a matter of fact it’s quite a fun romp. However, the advertising of the film is something that the film didn’t have going for it. While audiences expected a comedy trying to solve a kidnapping, what they got was the Coen’s love letter to Hollywood.
The film mostly focuses on Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) and his constant out of fires revolving his stars and directors. Brolin proves to be a likable lead and the rest of the cast proves to be unique and memorable and act well off of the events in the film. On top of all that, the film has kind of “mini-films” that play throughout.
Much like the Coen’s own filmography they range from comedy to drama, even a musical is in there. The era of which the movie takes place is the best possible backdrop, and is during the golden age of film which only makes the love letter more fulfilling.
The characters all love what they do, that being making movies. From those who are responsible for bringing a vision to life to those who help make that dream come true. From passionate filmmaker Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) to actor Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich). This is most seen in with the aforementioned Eddie Mannix. Despite all the things he goes through he pushes through for one reason, he loves making movies. And at the end of the day that’s what Hail, Caesar! is about.
All that said, the film’s story is almost non-existent. There’s not much in terms of plot advancement. As a matter of fact all the issues that arrive in the film are resolved almost instantly. Because of that, it may be something that turns off general audiences who aren’t film fans.
I had the pleasure of viewing the film opening night, and many of those leaving the theater were dis-satisfied save for me and the one I viewed the film with. Hail, Caesar isn’t for them though, it’s for those who love movies and love making movies.
Hail, Caesar!, while a love letter, is at its heart a comedy. The jokes aren’t as direct as say Wayne’s World or Talladega Nights and how more clever than others. It’s both goofy and smart. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously while not being ludicrous enough to devalue the messages of the it. We mostly see this with the supporting cast as opposed to the lead. This allows for Hail, Caesars! narrative to progress with Mannix without having to devalue him as a character.
All in all, Hail, Caesar! is a film meant for those who love making and watching films. And where as general audiences may not enjoy the film, its target audience will love it. The actors all portray their roles well, and Josh Brolin does a fine job at the lead role. Of course, the Coen Brothers bring it all together, and the Golden Age of Hollywood gets a rather great love letter directed towards it.