Hail, Caesar!

Misadvertising strikes again to claim the life of yet another movie, this time the Coen brothers’ latest feature, Hail, Caesar!. To be honest, the ads gave me incredibly high expectations for the film. And, to be even more honest (and perhaps a bit contrarian to the opinions of my fellow moviegoers) I didn’t think that the movie was absolutely awful. It really wasn’t a bad movie and I would go so far as to say that it was actually good, but its  quality fails to erase the feeling of utter disappointment that I expect every seer of this movie will feel when the credits roll.

hail-cesarMy excitement for Hail, Caesar! began at some point in mid-October as I sat in SoNo’s movie theater waiting for a different picture to begin. The trailers, my favorite part of going to the movies, were just beginning as the lights went down and people began to settle into their seats. Then, something that I can only describe as really, really cool began. From the screen, a glowing light; from the speakers, a fun drum beat. What I saw there as a trailer was an exciting, quirky comedy in which a ragtag cast of everyone’s favorite stars from today, including Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, banded together to pay homage to Hollywood’s Golden Age after George Clooney is kidnapped and zany hijinks ensue.

The actual movie, however, was a different beast entirely. Clooney’s kidnapping isn’t even the main plotline of the movie, which instead focuses on a rather tired looking Josh Brolin as the head of the film studio that is producing the movie’s titular movie-within-a-movie, Hail, Caesar!.

Furthermore, each of the movie’s supposedly feature stars did not actually have roles in the overarching plot (which was actually sort of hard to pick out). In lieu of that, the Coen brothers chose to make the film a series of vignettes, each involving Brolin, who had to figure out a way to “fix” the situation in which each character had been thrown.

Examples of these would be resolving Clooney’s kidnapping, hiding Scarlett Johansson’s pregnancy, and improving the reputation of Alden Ehrenreich (whoever that is). There really wasn’t anything wrong with this structure, and it actually pushed the movie into the Coen brothers’ trademark quirkiness. But, due to the advertising of the movie, I expected it to be more of a goofy period piece than the fluffy piece of quirk that it was. So, despite Hail, Caesar! not being a bad movie in my opinion, the movie was disappointing due to the deceptive ways of Hollywood’s marketing industry. My only valid criticism would be that they needed more focus on the Red Scare than they actually gave if they wanted to tackle it at all, and that the acting chops of Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand were underutilised.

At the end of the day, I would recommend seeing Hail Caesar!. However, don’t expect to enjoy it unless you’ve seen absolutely no advertising and haven’t enjoyed the the Coen brothers’ previous filmography.


-Jack Hobbs, Staff Writer

Posted by on February 11, 2016. Filed under Arts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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