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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hail, Caesar!

That exclamation mark is definitely earned.

Even by their standards, the Coen Brothers' latest comedy is an extremely ramshackle, structureless affair, but is precisely this restlessness that gives Hail, Caesar! much of its sparkiness. Effectively a love letter to post-War Hollywood (as opposed to the troubling depiction of the same period in Trumbo), the film flits from the film's main star and grounding force, Josh Brolin, a studio man confronted with the chance to leave the madnes behind for a much cushier job in the arms business, to what are basically small, extremely funny vignettes of the Hollywood machine running at full steam.

The all-star supporting cast are largely relegated to, at best, extended cameos but they're all utterly brilliant in however long their screen time happens to be, as the Coens once again get only the best comedic performances from their actors. Similarly, just because the film's plot is extremely loose and it seem sto be mostly a connected sequence of wonderful recreations of 50s cinema and far more surreal behind-the-scenes madness doesn't mean that the film ever gets boring and it is frequently and consistently hilarious.

And that's really the point. For all the great performances, typically beautful Roger Deakins cinematography and razor-sharp Coensy dialogue, Hail, Caesar's greatest accomplishment is just how funny it is. I laughed quite a bit in Zoolander 2 and quite a lot in Deadpool but Hail, Caesar is on a whole other level. And to say that it's a lifejacket of comedy in the face of unmitigated dreck like Dirty Grandpa and Fifty Shades of Black is to say nothing at all. This isn't the Coens at their best - far from it, in fact - but this is the Coens at their funniest, and that is really nothing to be seezed at.

Frankly, it's worth a watch just for the gutbusting sequence that literally involves a rabbi, a priest and a studio executive.


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