“Lights. Camera. Abduction.”
Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum
Eddie Mannix (Brolin) is a fixer for Capital Studios, making sure that the productions keep running and the stars stay away from scandals. On a particular day he has to wrangle a star (Clooney) kidnapped by Communists, find a husband for a pregnant starlet (Johansson), deal with a pair of nosy journalists (Tilda Swinton) and a studio leak (Tatum) and persuade a classical director (Fiennes) to work with a cowboy star (Ehrenreich), and at the same time decide whether he’d rather be building airplanes.
What’s wrong with it?
The story is a little sparse and superficial, bouncing between threads with little real depth. I mean… it’s a Coen brother’s film, and a pretty lightweight one.
In perhaps their first collaboration since Highlander, Clancy Brown and Christopher Lambert never share screen time.
What’s right with it?
It looks amazing, and is really very funny.
The cast is brilliant, and the whole production captures the style of 1950s Hollywood.
There’s some delicate satire, both with the cosy Commies and Mannix receiving a sweetener from Lockheed of gifts for his children: A toy plane for his son, and a stewardess’s uniform for his daughter.
How bad is it really?
It’s a hell of a good movie; so much so that I’m really struggling to find stuff to snark about. This is why I prefer reviewing bad movies; it’s just more fun.
Best bit (if such there is)?
In an early scene, a brief meeting with religious representatives to confirm that the film Hail, Caesar: A tale of the Christ isn’t offensive turns into a theological debate and general grump-fest.
What’s up with…?
- The Coen driving moment? It’s a motif of theirs. I just wonder what’s up with it.
Production values – So preetty. If I have a compaint – and I feel it does behoove me to do so – it’s that, I don’t know, the cast have slightly the wrong kind of face or something. 1
Dialogue and performances – Witty. A little superficial, but very, very witty and beautifully delivered. 3
Plot and execution – It’s a bit rambling, that being the Coen style, but delivers on all its promises. 2
Randomness – What randomness appears – such as editor CC Calhoun (Frances McDormand) almost choking on her scarf) is actually part of the pattern. 2
Waste of potential – No. 0