Josh Brolin works as a Hollywood fixer in the 1950’s and he really has his work cut out for him when George Clooney gets kidnapped by a mysterious group who call themselves “The Future”, Scarlett Johansson is about to have a child without knowing the father and Alden Ehrenreich is horribly miscast in Ralph Fiennes serious drama.
All of the Coen brothers’ movies can be put on a sliding scale of drama to comedy, always containing elements of both but some – Miller’s Crossing – focus more heavily on the dramatic elements, while others – Burn after Reading – focus more on the comedic. Their best works tends to fall somewhere in the middle like Fargo. That in mind Hail, Caesar! can be firmly placed at the comedic end.
While it isn’t one of the Coen’s best works, I am still yet to see one of their films I didn’t really like. For sure it lacks the cohesion and narrative strength of works like Fargo and Barton Fink, but it is very likeable and very funny. It is a little bit of a mess and at times I found it more difficult than it should have been to follow what was happening, but then the same can be said of The Big Lebowski (a fan favourite but not mine).
The performances, as with any Coen Brothers Movie, are exceptional and picking standouts is a tough ask. At surface level (where most of this movie resides) Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton give the funniest and most memorable performances – but the true heart and soul of this film is of course Josh Brolin. Without Brolin being as good as he is the film could fall to pieces and become an hour and 46 minute long sketch show, but he manages to will the film into a whole.
Overall, I found Hail, Caesar! an incredibly enjoyable watch and I think you will to. Just don’t go expecting Fargo. It’s not that, but it is fun.