The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Lily Gouin
Lily Gouin
Assistant Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Lily Gouin I am in my third year here at NMU. I am from Appleton, WI majoring in communications and double minoring in multimedia journalism and public relations. In my free time, I like...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Yet another Coen brothers ensemble

“Hail, Caesar!” features an ensemble cast of A-list actors and portrays the golden age of cinema. Everything about this movie seems large and grand in scope, and yet, it isn’t. At the core of it all, “Hail, Caesar!” is the Coen Brothers’ open love letter to old-time Hollywood.re-hail-caesar-poster

Acting: With A-list actors and actresses filling even the smallest of roles, it isn’t surprising that there really isn’t a bad performance in the film. Ralph Fiennes was prominent in two scenes, and he was fantastic—more scenes with him would’ve surely been welcome. Channing Tatum has come to garner a reputation as Hollywood’s pretty boy, but don’t let that reputation fool you; the man can flat-out act. With some solid performances in “Foxcatcher,” ‘The Hateful Eight” and now “Hail, Caesar!” Tatum has flexed some serious acting chops in the past few years.

However, the three truly standout performances of the film came from Josh Brolin, George Clooney and the surprising newcomer Alden Ehrenreich. Brolin plays the gruff, but strangely religious, Hollywood fixer, tasked with managing personnel and keeping the whole studio from collapsing on itself. Clooney is musclehead movie star Baird Whitlock, a charismatic-but-gullible leading man. Clooney’s performance in particular was unique, for he had to play Whitlock and then give Whitlock’s performance in his movie. I’ve never been a huge Clooney fan, but he impressed me in the
movie.

Lastly, in a star-studded affair, it might have been the largely unknown Alden Ehrenreich who stuck out. Playing a simple western star out of his element, Ehrenreich’s big scene with Ralph Fiennes in which the two characters go head-to-head might be the funniest of the film.

Story continues below advertisement

Directing: Did we really expect anything less from the Coen Brothers? With “Hail, Caesar!” Ethan and Joel Coen give us another well-crafted film, their own personal love-hate letter to post-war Hollywood. It is the first comedy we have gotten from the Coen Brothers since “Burn After Reading.”

The Coens chose a less traditional format for this story, choosing to simply have us follow a day in the life of Brolin’s character and all the craziness around him. The ending is abrupt and doesn’t really leave you with any closure, but that’s not abnormal for a Coen movie. This style of storytelling—vignettes of the cast dancing around the edges of the central theme, which is also true Coen style—works for the film.

Cinematography: When creating a period-piece movie, such as this film is, it is important to create a certain look for the film, one that when audiences watch, they feel like they are in the film themselves. The Coen brothers include this in their film. The color throughout focuses on yellows, golds and other vibrant colors, tying in with sunny California and the vibrant times in Hollywood.
Verdict:  “Hail, Caesar!” is another fine addition to a stellar résumé of the Coen brothers. It fondly looks back on a respected time in cinema, warts and all. With stellar acting and an entertaining story, Coen brother fans and movie fans everywhere will appreciate.

The biggest issue I take with the film is how large the cast is and how many semi-separate storylines there are. The film could have done with trimming and streamlining in some places, could have cut out a few excess characters and plot lines here and there, and it would have felt like a more focused film. But, as always, whatever happens in a Coen brothers movie is what was meant to happen. It’s either a stylistic choice or it’s
unavoidable.

All in the all, the direction from the Coen Brothers is intentional and artful, as usual, and even if it isn’t entirely satisfying as a sit-down movie, it has lasting power in the Coen canon. “Hail, Caesar!” will likely be talked about, like the Coens’ other films, for years to come.

More to Discover