SUMMARY: Set in the Hollywood studio system during the 1950s, movie megastar Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is kidnapped from the set of a biblical epic he is starring in. A political group calling itself “The Future” demands ransom for Whitlock’s release. Studio “fixer” Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) tries to track him down, while also dealing with other issues with productions and personal life.
RATED: PG for mild themes and coarse language.
AUDIENCE: Despite its PG rating, this oddball comedy drama will mainly suit fans of the two men who wrote and directed it – the Coen Brothers (Fargo, No Country for Old Men).
WHAT’S GOOD: Hail, Caesar! is full of impressive re-creations of classic Hollywood movie-making. Lovers of cinema history will be stoked, while celebrity spotters will eat up the star-studded cast (also including Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum and Ralph Fiennes). The Coen Brothers’ grip on kooky yet deep dialogue stirs plenty of thought, particularly the on-screen discussions of communism, capitalism, Christianity and other social “systems”.
WHAT’S NOT: The Coen Brothers’ films often seem to be deliberately constructed to make audience members feel silly for not being able to keep up. Hail, Caesar! is one of those films. Far from the kidnap comedy it presents itself to be, what actually unfolds is a puzzling yet intriguing jaunt through the many different approaches we can have to living.
SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: Among the polite mockery and rapid-fire intellect, what emerges at various points are outstanding presentations of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Although Risen is also at cinemas now and is all about Jesus’ death and resurrection, Hail, Caesar! does a better job at clearly stating the good news found when we believe in Jesus.