Hail, Caesar – Director, The Coen Brothers

I liked this movie although I will admit it is not the best Coen brother film ever. It is much quieter and more subtle than I had anticipated. Reviews are mostly very positive and congratulate the Coen’s on a tribute and laugh at 1950’s Hollywood but the negative ones are very negative. I think it might be useful to see the film in conjunction with Trumbo and with Women He’s Undressed which also look at the same period. Hail, Caesar does not miss the communist element in Hollywood but does make light of it. The attack on the left wing elements of the creative people in Hollywood of the time was devastating and not funny but I am not sure the Coen’s deserve the antagonism they get for having fun with the whole thing. Certainly it is a comic take but it is so clearly comic and so tongue in cheek that I really enjoyed it notwithstanding the real story. There are some really great scenes mocking the mega dance scenes, the heroic over the top epics, and the mega stars who led the Hollywood of the time. There a number of great cameos and some wonderfully comic scenes but for the most part it is done without going over the top. I enjoyed it but as I note there are much better Coen Bros. films. Their best films are really great so their lesser efforts clearly disappointed some critics but to be fair, not being as great as their best is still pretty darn good.