Last night I persuaded my reluctant husband to see Hail Caesar! on it’s all but last showing. We had to go three towns over to catch a viewing. He dragged his heels, brandishing his phone and reporting that it had been seen by less that 24,000 people in Korea as evidence of it’s faults.
Hail Caesar! is a very silly film. In some respects it is the silly American cousin of Monty Python’s The Life Of Brian – there’s a board-meeting of spiritual leaders squabbling over how to appropriately depict the son of God on film, if indeed that’s what he is, and if you’re asking the Rabbi, then he’s not. There are many brassy winks to the beard-and-hairography of Hollywood Biblical epics, there’s even a Roman with a speech impediment.
It’s also the Cohen Brother’s affectionate tribute to the glory days of MGM, populated by a cast who are all enjoying themselves enormously, looking exactly as if they had wandered off a 1950s Hollywood set, not least CHANNING TATUM, who – to much delight – reveals himself as a proper triple threat. His singin’ dancin’ sailor routine is not only packed with gags but is genuinely awe-inspiring to watch, I could have happily rewound it and played the whole thing again, so too Scarlett Johansson’s brittle-grinning water ballet.
Meanwhile Alden Ehrenreich is loveable and authentic as hokey cowboy stunt actor, Hobey Doyle. Shot all squint and pout like James Dean, He gave the slightly bemused and very small Korean audience the biggest laughs of the film.
If you have a fondness for the golden age of cinema and don’t cringe at the idea of madcap, (firmly, this is a caper of the purest form), no doubt Hail Caesar! will bring you joy.