Joel and Ethan Coen’s latest movie stars Josh Brolin as a square-headed fixer for a Hollywood studio in the 1950s.
Thin on plot but full of ideas, Hail, Caesar! is more a series of vignettes than a proper story, paying homage to Hollywood’s Golden Age. It’s basically Singin’ in the Rain as told by the Coen brothers.
Structurally, the film seems slightly flimsy. There are a lot of characters and plot threads, some of which feel underdeveloped. But the many performances, musical numbers and production design cannot be faulted, with flawless cinematography by Roger Deakins.
The impressive ensemble cast includes George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum; the big stars of today playing the fictional stars of yesterday. Tilda Swinton, Alden Ehrenreich and Ralph Fiennes help make this a very fun film about filmmaking.
Never hugely fresh or scathing but always entertaining, this is just about as breezy as movies get. The jokes may not entirely fill the narrative holes, but there are some stand-out scenes (particularly one theological debate between religious leaders) and enjoyable turns. Vintage Coens it ain’t, but Hail, Caesar! is still a crowd pleaser.