Director of Media and Communications
Disappointing and underwhelming are the only two words to describe Hail, Caesar!. In fact, the movie’s one-minute trailer was much more interesting and exciting than the movie itself. Written, produced, edited, and directed by the Coen brothers, Hail, Caesar! is a film that encompasses multiple genres. These include drama, mystery and comedy, making the movie seem confusing and rushed. Although the overall plot of the movie is interesting, the unnecessary subplots and distracting diversions slow down the flow of the movie.
Set in Hollywood during the 1950’s, Hail, Caesar! is primarily about Eddie Mannix, the head of production at Capitol Pictures, who struggles to find Baird Whitlock, the star of a multi-million dollar movie, who has been kidnapped by communists. However, while trying to collect ransom and prevent the outbreak of a major public relations disaster, Mannix simultaneously has to handle other troubled actors and actresses, each with his or her own little story. Because Whitlock is abducted from the set, his captors must have been part of the film crew, immersing the plot in mystery and suspense.
“I did not enjoy Hail, Caesar! because the plot was confusing and the parts that all the old people were laughing at were not funny,” said senior Josephine Pulver. “I think I chuckled twice throughout the entire movie. Jonah Hill was in the movie for less than five minutes and his role was irrelevant. Channing Tatum had a very weird character who I felt didn’t really make sense either. In short, the movie was… how do I say this… a tiny bit better than trash. I would give it a 3.5/10.”
Unfortunately, the story-within-a-story structure overpowers the central plot, making it irrelevant until the last five minutes of the movie. Also, the time devoted to the chase for the head of the communist cell is not proportional to its importance in the film. Although the Coen brothers attempted to create a multi-faceted scenario, too many of the 106 minutes were not essential to the story and more annoying than entertaining.
“Yes, the biggest issue with this film is that the Coens created yet another great slew of characters, however, with so many, the film lacks focus on one coherent plot,” said Louis Matta of moviepilot.com. “Many big name actors such a Ralph Fiennes and Jonah Hill are on screen for pretty much ten minutes worth of screen time. Hill himself, I believe, has four lines in total.”
On the other hand, the actors’ performances softened the blow of the disastrous movie. Starring big Hollywood names like George Clooney, Channing Tatum, and Scarlett Johansson, Hail, Caesar! is a light-hearted movie despite addressing the time period’s communist hysteria.
Though ambitious and outstanding in theory, Hail, Caesar! fails to captivate audience’s attention with its peripheral subplots and lack of focus on the central story. Nonetheless, it is a fun and amusing to watch thanks to the famous actors featured throughout the movie.