Review: Hail, Caesar!

I feel like taking back what I said about the children watching Kung Fu Panda 3, because the adults who were watching “Hail, Caesar!” with me somehow managed to be a worse audience than the seven and eight year olds watching a cartoon.

 

In any case, my friend and I went to go see Hail, Caesar! tonight and I was underwhelmed. I’m going to try my hardest to explain why, because frankly, this seems like the kind of movie that I should enjoy, but after wrestling with my impressions of the movie and trying my best to make arguments for a higher grade, I found that I objectively could not give it one. I guess I should start with what I liked about the movie.

 

What I liked about this movie was the performances. There really isn’t anyone who does a terrible job. From Josh Brolin, to Scarlett Johansson, to Channing Tatum, I cannot think of anyone who didn’t do a good job in their role.

What I also appreciated about this movie were the themes and implications. There’s a lot this movie has to say about Hollywood in the 1950’s, America in the 1950’s, religion, the battle between the powers that be at the time, and about people and the phoniness that’s found in everybody.

This film also has a good amount of laughs. The humor was usually witty and intelligent, and even absurd at times.

 

What I didn’t like about the movie was just how much they tried to tackle in one film. “Hail, Caesar!” is essentially Josh Brolin’s character and how his job forces him to juggle a bunch of things at once, and I understood that, but that essentially caused the movie to have no time to expand on any of their characters in a satisfactory way for me. After a while, the whole experience was just so exhausting with little to no payoff once the movie was over.

There were lots of times in the movie where a famous actor would appear, and their role in the film was good or even brilliant, and then the character would never show up again. This happens so many times in the movie that I wished they got rid of some of the characters so that a few of the brilliant performances could show up more and be even better by expansion. Instead, we get a massive ensemble of good performances that almost never become fully realized. Josh Brolin, the character we spend most of our time with, is one of the least interesting persons in the entire group. I’m not saying Brolin did a bad job, but I can’t really say his performance was exceptional either.

 

I almost felt dumb watching the movie too, because even though I laughed quite a bit, there was a similar amount of times where the movie seemed like it was telling me a joke that didn’t make sense. I know I’ve said before that I enjoy subtlety and subtle humor, but I guess the Coen brothers were often too subtle for me in “Hail, Caesar!”

 

There’s enjoyment to be had in this movie; this movie does quite a few things well, but I was ultimately disappointed in the movie as a whole because you’re forced to take in so much without anything really receiving the chance to be amazing. I want to watch this movie again with an audience that isn’t obnoxious so that I can see if I missed anything. Who knows? Maybe I’ll like it better a second time, but for now, I’m giving this movie a 6 out of 10.

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