Hail, Caesar – Too Many Stories, Not Enough Time

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I feel like I have to start this review with my biggest complaint about this movie – I didn’t get what I expected to get.

I went to see Hail, Caesar! for two reasons:

  1. It looked funny.
  2. I really like several of the actors in it (namely, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johanneson, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum).

It was definitely funny, though not nearly so much as the movie I saw immediately after. But after getting excited to see four of my favorite actors in a film together…they basically weren’t in the movie at all.

Ralph Fiennes was in two scenes; likewise, ScarJo only had two. Channing lucked out and got three, while Jonah Hill had only ONE. These big name stars were basically nothing more than cameos.

Then there’s the other thing that contributed to the feeling of being shortchanged: the plot was not what I expected. The trailers led me to believe that this movie was going to be primarily about George Clooney’s character Baird Whitlock getting kidnapped.

That’s not the case at all. This movie is really about a day in the life of Eddie Mannix and his decision to either stay at the studio or take a job offer from Lockheed Martin.

It’s not a bad story by any means, but the plot jumps around ever so much. It’s a rare case where the movie would have benefited from a longer run time, simply because there were so many characters and mini-storylines to juggle.

There were moments too where it really shone. Channing Tatum’s opening scene, with the sailor song-and-dance number, was really fantastic. It was very classic Hollywood and a complete joy to watch. Likewise, Tilda Swinton’s twin reporters were extremely amusing, and I wish there had been more time to explore Hobie Doyle’s transition from westerns into dramas and his budding romance with Carlotta (I could have watched a whole movie on just that). In fact, Alden Ehrenreich as Hobie was probably my favorite part of the film – he stole every scene and was both captivating and incredibly believable.

I wanted to like this movie, and I did like parts of it. But those parts didn’t make up for the jumping around to get it beyond “meh” for me. I’m not upset I saw it, but I probably won’t buy it when it comes out either.

-Regina

Originally posted on Regina’s blog

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