PG-13 | 1h 46min | Comedy, Mystery
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich
Storyline Hail, Caesar!
This movie is a success on so many levels that it is hard to do it justice in a short review, but here goes. Superficially, the film is a light-hearted comedy about the foibles of people in the 1950s Hollywood film industry, which are just glamorized, larger-than-life sins and failings of humans in general - immorality, stupidity, intoxication and the like - magnified by dramatic nature of the movie trade and the secondary, parasitic gossip-publication industry. The real genius of "Hail, Caesar," however, is the way the surface narrative is intricately and artfully interwoven with one of the central struggles of 20th Century history, in a way that is subtle yet deeply moving. This struggle, which continues today, is the battle for the hearts and minds of mankind, a battle between the god of the Almighty Secular State (in this movie, Soviet Communism) and the God of the Bible. The protagonist, Baird Whitlock (played by George Clooney), is an actor kidnapped by a communist cell and held for ransom. He is almost swayed to the communist cause by the persuasive rants of the various cell members (including the detestable Professor Herbert Marcuse, who was a real-life American professor with an incredibly potent, destructive legacy). The "fixer" who works for Whitlock's studio (Eddie Mannix, played brilliantly by Josh Brolin) recovers Whitlock and literally slaps the commie nonsense out of him, restoring him to productive sanity. The three minutes in the movie where a rabbi, a Catholic priest, an Eastern Orthodox priest, and a Protestant minister debate the acceptability of the movie studio's depiction of Christ is comedy gold. Do not miss this movie, especially if you were born after 1970!
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