By Peyton Sanders
A Catholic priest, a Greek Orthodox priest, a Protestant minister and a Jewish rabbi discuss the theology behind the Hollywood depiction of Christ…comedy ensues.
The socially inept minds of the Coen Brothers have spun another eccentric and unpredictable tale with minor flaws and major laughs. “Hail, Caesar!” is by no modern standard a masterpiece in storytelling but rather a character-driven tip of the cap to the old Hollywood. This isn’t a Coen brother’s film that will spur any existentialist conversation about morality and somberness like “No Country for Old Men” or “Miller’s Crossing.” This latest addition to the Coen Brother’s filmography contains the proper amount of nostalgia, wit, musical numbers, and George Clooney looking confused.
The story follows real-life “fixer” and routine Catholic, Eddie Mannix, as his studio’s biggest release of the year, “Hail Caesar!,” is nearly sabotaged by the kidnapping of the film’s star, Baird Whitlock. What follows is a respective lampooning of early Hollywood stereotypes such as the uppity drama director, the cowboy with incompetent speaking abilities, and a pair of Hedda Hopper twins just to name a few. The film also manages to tie in a subplot involving the Red Scare and some rather pretentious communist sympathizers.
When viewing a Coen Brother’s film such as this one, an audience member should be aware that a certain formula will not be followed. Such as the case with many of their past films, there is a rejection of the methodic status quo of a consistent plot structure. But filmgoers should not see this as a negative but rather a chance to knowingly and undoubtedly see something unexpected. However, this allows certain moments to overshadow others leaving some of the scenes very stilted and uneven, but is quickly remedied but outlandish behavior from over-the-top and unforgettable characters.
“Hail, Caesar!” is rated PG-13 for containing minor blasphemy and some neo-Marxist shenanigans