Coens’ comedy fast & farcical in star-laden spoof
Hail Caesar (PG) Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen 1hr 46min, ★★★ Reviewed by Peter Lampp
There was a ropey scene in quirky farce Hail Caesar when a cowpoke at a dining table turns a long string of spaghetti into a lasso.
Then he cleverly twirls the lasso over a woman’s finger.
How do the Coen brothers think up this stuff?
The guy is Hobie Doyle (played by Alden Ehrenreich) who at one stage runs into a tree while on his horse, whirls himself upside down around a branch and shoots two pursuers with his six-guns.
In another scene, a European movie director (played by Ralph Fiennes) almost has a seizure getting Hobie to repeat his one line in a scene, to no avail. Hobie just can’t act. Hail Caesar is a star-laden spoof set in the 1950s motion picture industry.
To attract the punters there’s George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Jonah Hill very briefly, Tilda Swinton playing two competing gossip columnists who are sisters; Channing Tatum as a dancing sailor, and Scarlett Johansson as a sort of mermaid turning on a southern accent which would have melted an iceberg.
Obviously Coen comedy is in the eye of the beholder. This one has colour to burn as it gallops from one film set to another.
Clooney is playing Caesar in ancient Rome, that is until his A-list character Baird Whitlock, is kidnapped from the studio set by a bunch of commies.
It is a most strange, tortuous trip from wackiness to amusement.
Brolin plays studio boss Eddie Mannix who has to manage the mess, while making trips to church to confess about lying to his wife about quitting smoking.
Given that, the movie could just as easily been called ‘Hail Mary’.
For me, Ehrenreich outdid the big stars, while the closing soundtrack (yes, by the Red Army Choir) was as stirring as heck.
George Clooney plays 50s movie star Baird Whitlock who is playing Caesar in the goofy Coen brothers spoof, Hail, Caesar!