If Hollywood tells you: ‘This is a masterpiece’, you’ll believe it. It doesn’t matter if you realise that it’s nothing but complete rubbish; you’ll still believe it. Why? Because that’s the power of this industry, and like it happened in the past, it still works. And this has a lot to do with the latest film by Joel and Ethan Coen, not only because it’s about Hollywood and its influence, but because this film will be considered as a reference, when it’s actually complete nonsense.
Everyone knows that the Coen brother’s cinema stands for surrealism and absurdity. They’ve done splendid works of art during their career, but ‘Hail, Caesar!’ mustn’t be included in that category at all. Yes, we’re not used to see the surname Coen in a comedy, but that’s no excuse to explain why they’ve brought us this bizarre movie full of a mixture of gags on Hollywood’s golden years.
‘Hail, Caesar’ should be defined as a revision of some of Hollywood’s greatest pictures, all gathered in the figure of Eddie Mannix, a film studio executive portrayed by Josh Brolin. As the narrator tells us, we’ll be seeing one day of his ‘never-ending story’: a day in which he’ll have to deal with the production of brand new upcoming films, the pressure of two twin tabloid journalists, both portrayed by Tilda Swinton, and, what’s worse, the kidnapping of the studio’s star: actor Baird Whitlock, portrayed by George Clooney, who has played what could be maybe the daftest character of his entire career.
What’s in this film is just a continuous display of images that, inevitably, reminds you of alot of Hollywood’s greatest feature films: George Clooney in his roman soldier costume has a Ben-Hur reminiscence. We’ll also find a grumpy Scarlett Johansson, honouring the figure of Esther Williams, and, also, Channing Tatum’s lovers have an excuse to watch this film: as he’ll be performing a tap dancing scene…not like Gene Kelly, but not that bad!
Anyway, a film directed by the Coen brothers always means more than what you’re seeing. Was it really that necessary to do this revision? Maybe, their reason was not only to honour American cinematic history, but also to criticise the censorship and the writer’s communist ideas. Still, is ‘Hail, Caesar!’ worth it? That’s for you to decide.