Director: Joel and Ethan Coen ( Fargo) Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton Verdict: Lights! Camera! Abduction! A NEW release from those irresistibly idiosyncratic filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen ( No Country for Old Men, Fargo) is always cause for celebration among a vast array of cinema enthusiasts.
The Coens have never been the kind of creative types who will die wondering, and that is why their following remains so devoted and so diverse.
Every idea that crosses their shared movie mind – whether it be good, bad, or just plain weird – is always on full display.
There is definitely a party atmosphere of sorts to the Coen’s latest work, a goofy celebration of the last days of Hollywood’s fabled ‘ golden age’ in the 1950s.
This was the era where major studios like MGM and Warner Bros. micro- managed their constellations of contracted stars around the clock.
Cigar- chomping, order- barking movie tycoons such as Louis B. Mayer and Jack Warner controlled the public images and private lives of everyone on the acting payroll.
And the man they always called when a big star was in big trouble? That would be the legendary ‘ fixer’ Eddie Mannix ( played by Josh Brolin).
If you needed to get married in a hurry, have a baby in secret, or wanted photos to disappear, ‘ Fast Eddie’ would soon have an unseemly situation seem as it never happened.
Mannix’s main assignment in the freewheeling yarn spun in Hail, Caesar! is ascertaining the immediate whereabouts of one of Hollywood’s biggest ( and booziest) names.
Hell- raising heart- throb Baird Whitlock ( George Clooney) has been kidnapped from the set of a bigbudget biblical epic.
All Mannix has to go on is very basic ransom note, demanding $ 100,000 for the star’s return, and signed by a mysterious entity that calls itself ‘ The Future’.
There is certainly nothing futuristic about the scrappy, screwball plotting of Hail, Caesar!. This is very much a loopy lark concerned with a lost past Hollywood will never reclaim. A past where so- so performers such as the sailor- suited song- and- dance man Burt Gurney ( Channing Tatum), or the maneating movie mermaid DeeAnna Moran ( Scarlett Johansson), could sell millions of tickets with just their name on a marquee.
The irrepressibly upbeat vibe of Hail, Caesar! marks a decided change of mode from the darker material usually favoured by the Coens in recent times. However, it does go on to deliver more than its throwaway premise initially promises.
A star- studded cast support cast ( including forcefully funny turns from Grand Budapest Hotel’s Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton) seal a winning deal here.