I finally saw the Coen Bros latest Hail, Caesar! (click for IMDB overview). It’s very playful, multilayered, satirical and witty as you would expect from the highly original Coen duo. At times, stylistically and comedically it reminded me of a Mel Brooks movie. The production design is to die for and there are some jaw-dropping choreography scenes reminiscent of the Gene Kelly movies. There is a gloriously funny scene between Ralph Fiennes character and Alden Ehrenreich and those who have seen it will know the one I’m referring to. George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansen and Alden Ehrenreich were captivating in every scene they appeared. The Francis McDormand editing room scene is another standout. There are so many references to the great films of the day that if you blink, you’ll miss a few.
Half way through, I was thinking this could end up being my favourite movie of the year, right up their with their unheralded screenwriting masterpiece Barton Fink (Click to see my review). My main criticism with the film and why it doesn’t attain the heights of Barton is that by the time we have seen its seemingly premature and inconsequential ending, it’s as though we just sat through an early draft Coen Bros movie script put to screen. It seems the movie was pushed out too early without the directors fully realising their own aims and by the end, the plot amounts to basically diddly-squat. Is it still worth seeing? Heck yeh!
Hail, Caesar!, like Barton might not be for everyone, which could be a good thing because it’s about how the Coens are celebrating the films we have perhaps idealized a bit too much. A second tier Coen Bros film is still a great movie and I’m looking forward to seeing it again real soon. I give it an eight out of ten.
Barton Fink, The Big Lebowsky, No Country For Old Men, Fargo and Llewyn Davis (click to read my review) remain my favourite Coen movies, but Hail, Caesar! coulda, shoulda been right up there if the script and character development had been fully realised. I still had a lot of fun with it and that’s the important thing.