With Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Tilda Swanson, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Frances McDormand, Jonah Hill
Written & Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen
You shouldn't be despondent when hearing a new Coen bros. film is on its way. You're almost guaranteed to be drawn into a highly entertaining cinematic experience.
Set in old Hollywood of 1951 (where the film industry was at a crossroads producing schlock spectacles), a studio head has his hands full. The star of his new picture Caesar! has been kidnapped and communist screenwriters may be at the centre of it. He's having issues with a posh director and a starlet is pregnant out of wedlock.
A Coen Bros. movie wouldn't be complete without a ransom or sum of money that needs to exchange hands (the only guys who can take this tired Hollywood trope and give it a new kick each time).
As is always the case, the story is peppered with a wide range of quirky and / or melodramatic characters filled with, well, character(!) From the aforementioned studio head, there's everything from a (goofy) lead heartthrob and snooty British director, to a cowboy actor moved into a more mainstream romance role and a set of gossip journalist twins.
Typical set-pieces from that era is recreated, like a Roman epic, a musical, choreographed swimming, and cheesy romance.
Even though this is set a decade after Barton Fink, it would've been great if the Coens had given their hardcore fans a thrill by including a scene that intersects with that great movie (which is also set in the Hollywood film industry).
And while this is no Barton Fink or Fargo, it definitely outdoes Intolerable Cruelty and A Serious Man - still, not disappointing at all.
5 / B
- Paul Blom
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