The Coen brothers' latest is a star-studded film that was really reflective of the time that it was set in: Hollywood circa 1950s. It was neither their best nor worst film, but was elevated, and made enjoyable, by the tremendously well-cast actors (except for one Mr Tatum).
The film's best moments were when the actors were self-consciously parodying their 50s counterparts. But otherwise, the Coens got occasionally too self-indulgent in trying to replicate film-making back in the 50s, which ultimately caused the A-plot and narrative to feel meandering and choppy.
Of all the cast, Alden Ehrenreich, Tilda Swinton and Scarlett Johannson were standouts. Co-leads George Clooney and Josh Brolin were fine and adequate in their roles but neither brought anything exciting to the screen, although the former scored points for hamming it up as the archetypal male heart-throb A-lister. Ralph Fiennes, Frances McDormand and Jonah Hill were glorified cameos but at least the first two were memorable and hilarious, whereas Hill was nondescript. Hollywood needs to stop trying to make Channing Tatum work.
Roger Deakins' cinematography is as per usual stunning, but like the Cohens', this was not his best work. Similarly, Carter Burwell's score was fun and reminiscence of the era, but rather forgettable once the film ends.
Hail, Caesar! was a fun film to watch that meandered more than it should, but its mainly brilliant cast more than made up for the thinnest of narrative.