Hail Caesar Pays Homage to Old Hollywood


Photo Courtesy of trailers.apple.com

By Rachel Vigil

Hail Caesar premiered on February 5 as the newest Coen brothers film.

The Coen Brothers, Ethan and Joel, are well known for their wide range of films from westerns to neo noir. They are best known for films Raising Arizona (1987), Fargo (1996), and No Country for Old Men (2007), among many others.

Hail Caesar is the story of a hollywood studio fixer Eddie Mannix in charge of keeping his studio’s stars out of gossip columns and scandal in the 1950s. Conflict arises when his star actor Baird Whitlock, portrayed by George Clooney, gets kidnapped. We follow Mannix over a few days in the studio through several different movie shoots with actors and directors from around the studio facing their own set of problems.

Right off the bat almost every scene of the movie is visually stimulating. The cinematography was on par, and all the set pieces and costumes embody old Hollywood. As the film shifted from movie set to movie set, I was excited each time to see the scene about to play out, whether it be between the characters of the film or just one of the many films being  shot in the studio.

One of the other large appeals of this movie iss the characters. Each one is an interesting, albeit a bit stereotypical, representation of the studio system of the time. The film especially made me fond of the main character Mannix while understanding his motivations and character.

On top of that, the writing is witty and humorous. These jokes also weren’t set up in over the top ways or executed obnoxiously, as some comedies seem to do. Rather they were well thought out and just added to the entire tone and story of the movie, rather than just being tacked on in places they were not needed.

Of course the film has its weak spots as well. Even though it was fun and interesting to go from film to film at the studio and see all the separate characters dealing with problems of their own, sometimes it could be a bit disorienting, and a few plot points were only touched on once and never completely wrapped up, leaving me wanting to see more of the scene. With this, sometimes the film main plot felt a bit blurred and bogged down with all the branching subplots.

However, as a whole, the film functioned very well. It certainly isn’t a masterpiece, but the moments of weaker plot were made up for in good characters and comedy. Everything in it felt fun and filled with movie magic. Seeing the making of all the fake films and getting to know all the actors, directors, and writers gave a sense of how amazing, if at times frustrating, film making can be. In the end, Hail Caesar is about the love of movies and is a perfect and fun watch for anyone that loves them too.