The one thing I didn’t like about the latest from Cohen Brothers is that I hadn’t been to see it sooner.
While a glitzy cast including George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum might put some film buffs off, Hail Caesar! instead reminds you why these actors are the big names. Because boy, can they put on a show.
Set in the golden era of 1950’s Hollywood film-making, Hail Caesar follows Eddie Mannix (Ralph Finnes), a conflicted and charming “fixer” who spends his long working days keeping actors’ scandals out of the press. When some extras kidnap the lead of the studio’s biggest production, the search is underway and the story really gets going.
The plot becomes a touch ridiculous at points, but there’s enough else going on to redeem it. Scarlett Johansson hitting on a conventionally unattractive man, a musical number from Channing Tatum and a circle of religious leaders disagreeing about God are just a few of the many great moments.
The charm of this film lies in its insight to 1950s Hollywood, while pulling together the strings of historical, western, musical and even synchronised swimming films seamlessly. While Hail Caesar! is a little weak at points, if you love old films and a delightful story you’ll easily forgive that.