Thursday, 10 March 2016

Hail Caesar! Review


'Hail Caesar!' is the latest film to come from the highly popular and successful Coen brothers and contains one of the most star studded casts of recent times. There's no denying that the Coen's can produce magic but would 'Hail Caesar!' do them justice or not live up to the hype?

'Hail Caesar' follows Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) who is looking to fix all of the problems at Capitol Pictures. He has to deal with disgruntled actors, filmmakers and the media when he is faced with his biggest problem. The star of Capitol Pictures latest big budget movie Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is abducted. A ransom for $100,000 is set and if it is not paid, it is the end for Whitlock.

George Clooney as Baird Whitlock


The Coen Brothers are two of the most successful directors and screenwriters of all time with 4 Oscar wins amongst their many nominations. It is very clear that they are both incredibly talented and have it in them to make incredible movies. However I don't feel that was the case with their latest attempt.

Now I was eagerly anticipating this film. Other than Star Wars, I don't think I've seen a trailer for a film so many times. I was constantly seeing this which lead me to be very interested and to look forward to this film. Also with the huge names behind this, I was expecting something fantastic.

The cast for this film is fantastic. You have Academy Award winners such as George Clooney, Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormad amongst fellow nominees such as Josh Brolin, Ralph Fiennes and Jonah Hill. You also have some of the most popular actors working today in Channing Tatum and Scarlett Johansson. With all this talent so much could've been done and it could have really been phenomenal. However it isn't the performances that let 'Hail Caesar!' down. In fact the performances are mainly all really good. No qualms about any of the performances. In fact my favourite parts of the film was whenever Alden Ehrenreich was featured and he was by far my favourite character. He brought great comedy to the film and had the most interesting things going on around him.

Tilda Swinton and Josh Brolin amongst the star studded cast.


'Hail Caesar' is really filled to the brim with stuff going on at the start and does set it up to be quite promising. However with everything that's going on, the film fails to follow any of them up that much. We have short tid bits giving a bit of information to the scenario and then in most cases it is not shown again for the rest of the film. Take example the situation with Scarlett Johansson's troubled and pregnant character. It is said that the bad press wouldn't do the studio good so they need someone to be the father to her unborn child. This is shown in two scenes and then we are told that it is all resolved at the end of the film without being shown anything. Why make it part of the film if you're just going to skip over everything until the outcome? This happens on a few occasions and it just felt lazy.

The film is very anti-climatic as well. In the end nothing really has changed. Everything really is just how it was at the start of the film. You'd think with someone being kidnapped and a ransom being put out that there would be some confrontation in getting him back. This however must of been the cleanest and easiest recapturing in film history and really doesn't deliver. There really is no payoff in 'Hail Caesar!' and I feel that you will leave the film deeply underwhelmed.

There were parts to the film I did enjoy. I loved seeing them do scenes for a movie within the movie. The staged bar scene with Channing Tatum was very well done and great to watch. It was good to have a look back to how the films in the 50's would have been shot. The same should be said for Scarlett Johansson's scene where she is filming for a movie as a mermaid. These parts were very enjoyable to watch and were shot beautifully.

One of the better parts of Hail Caesar!


My favourite part of the film featured Ralph Fiennes who was portraying a director creating a new drama. He was stuck with Alden Ehrenrich's character Hobie Doyle, a western actor who doesn't work as well with speaking parts and with his new surroundings in a drama. It was great to see these two working together trying to create the finished piece for the film but Doyle's inability messing it up at times. This scene is highly entertaining and really funny as they struggle to get the directions correct and really nail the dialogue. I would have loved to have seen more of this in the rest of the film. 

Alden Ehrenreich and Ralph Fiennes interaction was great!


Overall though, the film really doesn't deliver. There is most definitely potential but the film really fails to follow up on any of what it sets up. Everything that happens is really rushed over or is skipped entirely. The film is really well produced and looks magnificent. However the story really doesn't deliver at all.

Final Verdict: Hail Caesar! = C+
'Hail Caesar!' is a very good looking film and all of the performances are of a good standard. However the content within the movie isn't up to the same standard. Very underwhelming and disappointing. I don't recommend you going and seeing this in the cinema, maybe check it out on DVD or TV but not worth going out of your way to see.

So have you seen 'Hail Caesar!'? If so what do you think? Also where does it rank amongst other Coen Brothers films? Once again thank you for reading my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor