Hail, Caesar! (2016) - Review

Hail, Caesar! (2016) – Review

Review: Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar! might not look enticing in the beginning, but, bear with it if you don’t want to miss a Hollywood’s Golden Era tour directed with a most exhilarating style by the brothers.

The plot might only revolve around 27 hours of daily errand done by Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin). Mannix is a “fixer” for Capitol Pictures – a fictional major studio in Coen Brothers’ universe; his work is ensuring film production is running smooth, at the same time also keeping the studio’s stars at high ground. 

Continue reading in: Review in English English or Review in Indonesian Indonesian

In his attempt to conceal a Hollywood darling’s unexpected pregnancy, Eddie also needs to find Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) who is abducted from the set of mega-colossal ‘Hail, Caesar! A Tale of Christ’ with only little time left before deadline. At the same time, Mannix is also expected to be the middle-man in an invisible conflict between young gun, Hobie Doyle (Alden Ahrenreich) and director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes); meanwhile, he needs to feed journalist sisters, Thora and Thessaly (both portrayed by Tilda Swinton), with tabloid gossips.

Hail, Caesar! (2016) - Alden Ahrenreich, Ralph Fiennes
Image via IMDb

Hail, Caesar! devices many plot-branches and supporting characters – sometimes a distant one. Initially, it gives an impression as if the film is over-stuffed and disjointed, but it is not. All those ‘stuffs’ are extracted directly from daily routine in the 50s Hollywood – characterized with abundant of colossal production like Ben Hur and Spartacus; deep paranoia of Cold War and Red Scare with references to the notorious Hollywood Ten; even subtle-but-striking religious imagery.

As a telling tale, Hail, Caesar! is seemingly gimmick-laden and often caught widening from the simple whodunit story-line in background. Some are essential to the plot indirectly; while some only adorn it like extra topping – e.g., Channing Tatum’s nomination for the best scene of the year. There’s where those savants display their prowess in story-telling.

Hail, Caesar! is projected like a synecdoche, a pars pro toto one – a part of an entirety to describe the whole entirety. A 27-hour period is representing a whole era in Hollywood along with the real-life situation and various factors underlying the progress of the industry in that heyday.

Hail, Caesar! (2016) - George Clooney
Image via IMDb

Ethan and Joel connect the dots in their Retro-Hollywood lecture with their trademark humor – a sweet mix of the absurd, the deadpan, and the witty one – which hits all the right notes. The pattern might look tangled as usual, but if you’re following Coen Brothers, this one piece is definitely a simple, digestible one.

Within the constellation of Coen Brothers’ filmography, Hail, Caesar! has a distinct place. It appears more fun than lots like Burn After Reading or O Brother, Where Art Thou?; broader in sense than Barton Fink or A Serious Man; although, no deeper than their masterpieces (read: FargoNo Country for Old Men, and Inside Llewyn Davis).

Hail, Caesar! might not be Coen Brothers’ best, but it’s definitely a most Coen Brothers flick. It’s a love letter towards the film industry in the 50s Hollywood served in a complex but comprehensive case study.

 

Hail, Caesar! (2016)

star3.5Hail, Caesar! (2016) - Poster

Comedy, Mystery Written & Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen Starred by: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden EhrenreichScarlett JohanssonTilda SwintonChanning TatumJonah HillFrances McDormandRalph Fiennes Runtime: 106 mins Rated PG-13

IMDb

 

 


Review Hail, Caesar! Bahasa Indonesia: Parade komedi cerdas Coen Brothers, Hail, Caesar! memang tak nampak menggiurkan awalnya. Tapi, bertahanlah sedikit lebih lama jika tak ingin melewatkan tur Golden Era Hollywood dalam karya paling menyenangkan mata dan nerve-mu dari dua bersaudara ini.

Seolah plot-nya memang berkutat pada 27 jam pekerjaan seorang Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), “fixer” untuk Capitol Pictures—yang juga muncul di Barton Fink. Pekerjaan utama ‘makelar produksi’ ini adalah menjaga reputasi para bintang Hollywood sekaligus memastikan produksi film berjalan lancar.

Di tengah usahanya menyembunyikan kehamilan tak terduga Hollywood darling, DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson), Eddie masih harus menemukan Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) yang diculik dari set mega-kolossal ‘Hail, Caesar! A Tale of Christ’ yang tengah dikejar deadline. Pada saat yang bersamaan dia harus menengahi invisible conflict antara aktor muda, Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) dengan sutradara Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes); sekaligus, feeding dua jurnalis bersaudari, Thora dan Thessaly (Tilda Swinton), dengan gossip a la tabloid showbiz.

Hail, Caesar! (2016) - Scarlett Johansson, Josh Brolin
Image via IMDb

Cukup banyak cabang cerita dan karakter pendukung yang ditampilkan dalam Hail, Caesar!. Kesan awalnya memang seperti over-stuffed dan tak berkaitan, tapi semua itu disarikan dari kisah sehari-hari Hollywood pada dekade 50-an—penuh produksi kolosal a la Ben Hur atau Spartacus; diwarnai paranoia Red Scare dan referensi tentang Hollywood Ten; bahkan imagery-imagery relijius yang subtle tapi mencolok.

Sebagai sebuah kisah yang bertutur, Hail, Caesar! memang terkesan dipenuhi banyak gimmick, dan sering melebar dari story-line aslinya yang sebenarnya hanya whodunit sederhana. Beberapa tempelan tampak seperti topping ekstra saja—seperti scene Channing Tatum yang seketika langsung mencuri perhatian. Namun, di sanalah letak kecerdasan script Coen Brothers dipamerkan.

Hail, Caesar! bagaikan sebuah majas sinekdoks pars pro toto—suatu bagian menggambarkan satu entitas penuh. Rangkaian kejadian selama 27 jam hilangnya Baird Whitlock cukup untuk menampilkan situasi industri Hollywood pada masa itu lengkap dengan berbagai faktor yang melandasinya.

Ethan dan Joel merangkum kuliah retro-Hollywood singkatnya dengan humor—mulai dari yang absurd, yang datar, sampai wordsplay yang cerdas—yang tepat sasaran. Polanya memang sulit untuk langsung dirunut, namun bagi yang sudah terbiasa dengan komedi-komedi bitter Coen Brothers, Hail, Caesar! Mungkin cukup mudah diikuti.

Hail, Caesar! (2016) - Channing Tatum
Image via IMDb

Dalam konstelasinya bersama film-film Coen Brothers lainnya, Hail, Caesar! memang tampil lebih menyenangkan dibandingkan Burn After Reading atau O Brother, Where Art Thou?; lebih luas dibandingkan Barton Fink maupun A Serious Man; walaupun belum sampai di tingkat kedalaman masterpiece mereka (baca: Fargo, No Country for Old Men, dan Inside Llewyn Davis).

Hail, Caesar! mungkin bukan film terbaik Coen Brothers, tapi jelas ini adalah film Coen Brothers paling Coen Brothers. Sebuah surat cinta pada industri perfilman Hollywood dekade 50-an yang mereka tumpahkan dalam soal cerita yang komprehensif.

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