Hail, Caesar! the latest film from prolific filmmakers, Joel & Ethan Coen, focuses on the life of Eddie Mannix, the Head of Physical Production for Capital Pictures in the 1950s. While "Head of Physical Production" is the label, Eddie's real title should be "Hollywood "fixer", as much of his duties are centered around cleaning up the respective messes of everyone at the studio, most namely the talent which keeps the the studio profitable. When the studio's biggest star, Baird Whitlock is kidnapped, Mannix finds himself on a race to "fix" the problem, which seems to become increasingly dire by the second. While this film may not be considered one of the filmmakers' best works, Hail, Caesar is a highly enjoyable throwback to the classic Hollywood days, being an entertaining comedy that certainly draws influences from many of the titans of cinema most notably, Preston Sturges. Fans of classic cinema are bound to enjoy this film far more than other viewers, as Hail, Caesar manages to create a nostalgic experience, as the Coen's love of cinema pumps through every frame of this film. On that note, one of my favorite aspects of the film is how the Coen's intercut scenes of the various productions being shot on Capital Pictures into the overall narrative of Eddie Mannix, offering a charming and breezy collage of classic Hollywood which is well-crafted and effective. Hail, Caesar captures the "magic" of cinema, juxtaposing the characters and image these actors' represent with their true selves. While it's certainly fair to call Hail, Caesar a much breezier comedy than most of the Coen's more esteemed work, I'd argue that the film still has a good amount to say, with the most obvious aspect being its somewhat seething commentary of the Hollywood system, in particular its own self-importance and need for control. Eddie is a character who needs to make sure everything is on schedule, reporting to New York every morning, and through him the film comments on the restrictive aspects of the Hollywood machine which manufactures stars and strangles creatives in an attempt to make as much money as possible. One could argue that the film is almost at odds with itself in this regard, showing such love and nostalgia for classic Hollywood while simultaneously making fun of its own entitlement and self-importance, but I'd argue that speaks more to the overall message of Hail, Caeser! A film that makes the argument that importance is in the eye of the beholder. Hail, Caesar lightly jabs at the military complex too, almost if to say, sure Hollywood's self-importance and capitalist fueled decision making aren't great, but hey! at least they don't directly lead to death and destruction. Perhaps I'm reading into Hail, Caesar a little too much with some of these exertions, but I still take some issue with people writing this film off as overly breezy and straightforward. In the end, Hail, Caesar is a funny, relatively lighthearted romp that features a lot of solid performances all around, making it another strong film in the Coen's seemingly always growing canon.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.