Dakotah Jones –
The Coen Brothers’ latest film, Hail Caesar, has received a mixed assortment of reviews, and after seeing it myself, I can understand why. The plot in theory isn’t overly complicated. Set in the 1950’s, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) works as Head of Production for Capitol Productions, a film producing company. The film follows Mannix along his daily operations as he attempts to solve all kinds of problems he’s met with in regards to his actors and actresses, all while he struggles to decide if his current career is right for him, or if he should move on to another job opportunity. The star studded cast includes George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, and Channing Tatum, along with a string of cameos, including Jonah Hill and Frances McDormand. The film is classic Coen Brothers from start to finish, which can be equated to a screenplay that is pure satire and hyperbole mixed with a twist of serious subject matter, which at times does provoke serious emotion. The reason this film falls short of the Coen Brothers classics such as Fargo, The Big Lebowski, or Burn After Reading, is because it doesn’t maintain a constant theme. Throughout the film, it seemed that the Coen Brothers tried to tackle too many issues, which included communism and religion to name a few. The film included many great scenes but what it failed to do was tie all of the scenes together to make a full length feature that was consistent all the way through. In regards to overall performances, everyone was great in their respective roles. Who really impressed me the most was Alden Ehrenreich, who played Western-Cowboy star, Hobie Doyal, who attempts to transfer into more serious roles. I look forward to seeing him in future roles to come. The cameos from McDormand and Hill were refreshing, but really had no tie to the overall plot. The film also has fantastic dialogue, which is no surprise in a Coen Brothers film.
The Verdict: Overall, the film is definitely not to be put into the category of the Coen Brothers’ best work. Its comedic flair and usage of outrageous satirical and hyperbolic elements made the film entertaining, but I couldn’t get fully invested into the plot at any time. In fact, the movie is so far stretched out into individual scenes, it only gives you a small taste of the characters. I believe that if the Coen Brothers had focused on one particular controversial theme to tackle, they would have produced a much better picture. I give this film a 6/10, mainly because the trailers and promotions were misleading as to the expected plot, and they seemed to try to cover too much controversial material in one film which unfortunately oversaturated the production. I recommend this movie to someone seeking a film with a lot of satire, hyperbole, and an entertaining screenplay.