Coen brothers triumph with ‘Hail, Caesar!’

Andrew Shermoen

The Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, are some of the most versatile men in Hollywood. Their niche is with dark crime comedies, but they have never been afraid to shy away from odd and unique settings.

Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), head of production at Capitol Pictures, is what is known as a fixer. His job is to prevent the studio’s stars from falling into public ruin. He’s dedicated to his job but feels like quitting and taking another offer, which would offer easier work and is more suitable to his talents. When one of Capitol Pictures’ biggest stars is kidnapped, Mannix must deal with the publicity and also find the perpetrators. On top of this, he must also deal with other every day crises within the studio.

The movie’s structure is enjoyably odd and rampant. The tones and scenes jump rapidly back and forth between locations and different subplots, but none of that detracts from what makes the movie so entertaining. The acting is phenomenal. Everyone gives enjoyable performances, despite their often brief screen time within the large cast.

One incredibly funny scene occurs when Laurentz, a high-profile director (Ralph Fiennes), slowly finds out that Hobie (Alden Ehrenreich), a popular Western star, is a painfully terrible actor.

Brolin’s Mannix is both hilarious and endearing, bringing to life a character who loves and is devoted to his work despite the difficulty of the job.

Alden Ehrenreich is a fairly unknown actor whose performance of Hobie is incredibly entertaining. Not only does he portray a good ol’ boy stuck in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, but he also proves that he is a talented performer whose role at Capitol is misunderstood.

Scarlett Johansson only has a few scenes, but steals them by being a perfect 1950s femme fatale character. She portrays America’s sweetheart, not unlike Esther Williams, who is constantly being thrown into relationships by the studio to give her a good public image.

Channing Tatum has a Gene Kelly-esque performance that is incredibly funny. The man once again proves that he is a talented actor with more than just a pretty face.

The reimagining of 1950s Hollywood will definitely entertain those who enjoy historical retellings of early Los Angeles and Hollywood culture. During this time studios attempted to create lighthearted escapist films during the Cold War. Studios also struggled shortly after the court case United States v. Paramount Pictures, as well as the emergence of the television. An incredibly fascinating time period in film history, “Hail, Caesar!” captures this perfectly in an incredibly entertaining, funny addition to the already outstanding Coen brothers lineup.

”Hail, Caesar!” may not go down as one the Coen brothers greatest films, but it is still an entertaining and incredibly captivating film. If it had come out last year, we certainly would be hearing some Oscar buzz.

Rating: 4/5 stars