When I saw the trailer for this film I about died laughing, and thought that I would be equally hysterically delighted while I watched the film.....but that didn't up being the case. The film was entertaining to be sure, but there was a sort of chaotic, artistic confusion to the entire movie that didn't really seem to flow very well. Josh Brolin is a "hollywood fixer" from the 1950's that keeps movie stars in line, films on track, and smooths any quarrels or problems with the artistic personnel and the media. That is essentially the entire film; the major plot line is that a bunch of communists hold a big movie star for ransom....although in the United State's current political climate, I could see where people could get communism and socialism confused with each other (although Stalin is to communism as Hitler is to socialism). Anyways, the plot was pretty straightforward, but the line which ran from point A to point B was very....disjointed. All of the performances were fantastic by the actors and actresses. Josh Brolin was great, but not entirely a unique character to play, and he was perhaps the least funny of the characters, although I think he was supposed to me more serious than the others. George Clooney played the popular movie star that was kidnapped, and boy did he play a wussy dunderhead quite well. I think perhaps the finest performance, and most enjoyable goes to Alden Ehrenreich who played Hobie Doyle, a simple actor who typically played a western gun slinger who then had to play a serious role in a drama. He had a breath of fresh air, and there was something so believable, and humorous about his character, not to mention he and Ralph Fiennes had perhaps the greatest scene together in the entire film. It was difficult in the theatre since I felt like I was the only one laughing. Scarlet Johansson, Jonah Hill, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, and Channing Tatum all had good supporting role appearances. But Clooney, Brolin and Ehrenreich were the big players.
The casting was well done, the directing very well by the Cohen Brothers, as well as the writing...although it became somewhat convoluted during the scenes with the wannabe communists. The cinematography was pretty good as well, but nothing like No Country for Old Men or Fargo, which I thought were much better films in general, but shot much better as well, although granted Hail, Ceasar! was a much different type of film. Now in this film, there were several miniature like films: a western, a drama, synchronized swimming, musical (think Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh, which came off very awkwardly) and a historical epic (think Ben-Hur); that's all of them I think....there was a lot going on in the film simultaneously. Granted it wasn't always boring or confusing, but my overall first impression wasn't a very endearing one. The editing was very poorly done I think, which increased the potential likelihood for confusion to occur. I have to say that the miniature films were cool, but not weaved together ultimately in a way that worked to the story and characters' advantage. The Cohen Brothers did well, and many described this film as their ultimate, culminating film from all of their experience, but it didn't come off that way for me. Perhaps I need to see it again, which I will, but if I don't then I won't really be missing anything. I have something very off topic to share: be very careful when job hunting. I came across a very impressive job scam this past week, and if I hadn't done very thorough research, God only knows what would have happened. So be cautious, and remember to do very thorough research; a lot of nasty people are out there who are quite intelligent and crafty and willing to take advantage of people.