Film Of The Week: Hail Caesar!

The Coens call on old friends for an affectionate take on vintage Hollywood

Hail, Caesar! could be the most Coen Brothers Coen Brothers film yet made. 

Set in Hollywood's Golden Age (as is the Coens' Barton Fink), with a cast of Coen company vets including George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Frances McDormand (aka Mrs Joel Coen), Tilda Swinton and Scarlett Johansson, it also features a kidnapping (Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski), real-life entertainment industry types (Inside Llewyn Davis had a young Bob Dylan), a manhunt (No Country For Old Men, True Grit) and a mocking but genuine affection for genre movies of the past (all of their work except The Ladykillers, which danced on the grave of the genre film it was remaking). Plus, there's Ralph Fiennes, whose late-career turn to comedy makes you think you've seen him in a Coen Brothers film, yet Hail, Caesar! is in fact his first.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Clooney plays a leading man who disappears during the making of a Roman epic; Brolin is Capitol Pictures' head of physical production – the studio's fixer – who has 24 hours to track down his company's asset, and keep the story out of the papers, for the sake of the film and Hollywood's whiter-than-white reputation. 

Despite having favourite ticks and tropes, the Coens are perhaps alone in being able to excel at comedy, drama and genre movies. After the perfectly pitched pathos of Inside Llewyn Davis, Hail, Caesar! is a return to the screwy comedy of Raising Arizona and Lebowski with movie-buff credentials of the highest order.

If you prefer real-life tales of vintage Hollywood, then Jean Stein's West of Eden, a new oral history of moneyed movie-making Los Angelenos, takes the less-trodden path from oil tycoons to the first studio moguls to Rupert Murdoch, via Lauren Bacall, Warren Beatty and Dennis Hopper.

Hail, Caesar! is out on 4 March. West of Eden (Jonathan Cape) is out now

What do you think?

Katy Perry
Culture
Share
Watch Katy Perry Get Naked To Encourage Americans To Vote
A true patriot
John Lydon
Culture
Share
John Lydon On Trump, Punk And 'Selling Out'
The former Sex Pistol talks Trump, rising early and why modern men are all 'naggy housewives'
Amy Schumer
Culture
Share
Amy Schumer Is The First Woman To Make Forbes Highest Paid Comedian List
Well played, Amy
Sadiq Khan
Culture
Share
Sadiq Khan Just Trolled Jeremy Corbyn By Saying 'Power' 38 Times In One Speech
He seems to be trying to make some sort of a point, here
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Culture
Share
The 10 Best Quotes From The Clinton Vs Trump Presidential Debate
"A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes"​
Francesco Totti
Culture
Share
Why Francesco Totti Is The Last King Of Football's Golden Age
​​As the Roma legend turns 40, Finlay Renwick reflects on the the legacy of the ultimate one club footballer​​
Brad Pitt Angelina Jolie
Culture
Share
Brad Pitt's Love Life: A Timeline
Who else had forgotten about Juliette Lewis?
Liam and Noel Gallagher
Culture
Share
Are Oasis About To Announce A Comeback?
Insert 'Don't Look Back In Anger' pun here​
Lil Wayne
Culture
Share
Lil' Wayne Officiated A Same-Sex Wedding While In Prison
​​As you do ​
Sam Allardyce
Culture
Share
Sam Allardyce Embarrasses The FA And Himself After Being Caught In Newspaper Sting
Why, Sam? Why?​​