Hollywood fixer, Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), works for the studios, attempting to keep scandals out of the press. He must cover up leading lady DeeAnna Moran’s (Scarlett Johansson) pregnancy, and play ‘matchmaker’ for actor, Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), who Hollywood want as their next big star. This is all in a day’s work…
The film offers a satirical viewpoint to Old Hollywood. At first, there is a lot to admire, from a showy production set, to glossy, old-style camera shots, and a great cast. While the film is visually stunning, the narrative lacks cohesion. Too many stories are taking place all at once, which makes for a messy narrative, jumping around all over the place. For the most part, George Clooney’s storyline has too much attention dedicated to it, leaving little emphasis and development for the remaining characters, who in fact, had much more to offer. Channing Tatum and Scarlett Johansson were particularly underused, deserving far more screen time. Though, the Channing Tatum dance sequence was very well done. Another concern that should be brought to light is Brolin’s character, Eddie Mannix, who wasn’t in the slightest a compelling protagonist, which only makes the film harder to engage with. In terms of humour, there were a few laughs here and there, but the majority fell into the ‘painfully unfunny’ category. A 106 minute film therefore felt 3 hours long, dragging its way to the final cut.
Hail Caesar! makes for a crowded comedy, and easily the Coen Brothers’ messiest work to date. A real disappointment. Not only is the energy missing, this beyond mediocre script is capable of putting one to sleep. Perhaps go and make yourself a Caesar Salad instead.