Film review: Hail Caesar! (3 out of 5)

A scene from Hail Caesar!
A scene from Hail Caesar!
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Often cited as ‘indie’ film-makers, the Coen Brothers are guaranteed to entertain and often surprise an audience.

They don’t just give you a comedy or a thriller, there’s usually a slightly offbeat feel to their work.

Fargo (1996) and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) are the most obvious examples, but Hail Caesar! is more akin to the excellent Inside Llewyn Davis from 2013.

Josh Brolin plays Eddie Mannix, a Hollywood fixer in the 1950s when studios owned actors, taking control of their image and career to boost the box office takings.

Mannix has various problems to sort out in a day, including a pregnant film star, an actor who can’t act, a director given the actor who can’t act and twin sister gossip columnists chasing after a scoop.

But when the lead in the new blockbuster Hail Caesar! goes missing Mannix has a totally different type of problem.

This pastiche of the 50s movie industry is well observed, emphasising the quirks of the period.

But if you expect a good belly laugh then you haven’t seen a Coen Brothers film before.

The humour is more subtle, provided by the quirks of the characters.

The movie has plenty of cameos, with Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum all adding to the plot.

George Clooney is great as the studio’s main star Baird Whitlock, casually accepting all that life brings.

This certainly isn’t the best Coen Brother movie I’ve ever seen but there’s real charm about and some great funny moments.

Film details: Hail Caesar! (12A) 106mins

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol

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