Promising Preview: Hail, Caesar!

There are trailers that grab their viewers’ attention, and there are ones that command attention. Hail Caesar, which promises to be the latest box office treasure from the Coen brothers, falls into the latter category. It’s the kind of trailer all studios should aspire to create, as it certainly does its job of making people wish the movie were out already, (But in light of it not being February, the trailer will have to do.)

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Hail, Caesar’s trailer watches like The Big Lebowski; it’s a familiar, fun experience for viewers that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Each sample-sized scene gives just enough background to what the movie will likely involve without falling into the trap most modern comedic cinema finds itself in: giving away all of the good jokes before the movie has even arrived in theaters.

Seeing George Clooney, Scarlet Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, and so many others crammed into that preview—with its quick wit and clever moments—should be enough to inspire anyone to pre-purchase tickets.

The Coen brothers’ body of work speaks for itself. They have a commanding grasp of how to handle drama and comedy, often mixing the two in their works. It’s near-impossible to mention the Coens without giving a nod to The Big Lebowski. Each scene served some purpose for the building of tension, yet also added humor to the overall story with the way the characters interacted. The same could seemingly be said about Hail, Caesar. The trailer begins with what feels like a heavy scene: Eddie Mannix, played by Josh Brolin, sitting in confession. The priest asks him how long it has been since his last confession, to which he replies, “twenty-seven hours”. While The Big Lebowski focused in on the comedic potential of the film-noir private eye character, Hail, Caesar readily skewers the world of earlier big Hollywood productions. The alleged world’s greatest movie star, Baird Whitlock (played by George Clooney), forgetting a simple line in what looks to be a massively important scene. The studio not being able to find its biggest star during filming. There’s a clear layer of drama, as it’s made clear Mannix and the studio’s goal is to bring audiences some of the best entertainment they can, and having their star kidnapped by a group called The Future adds both comedy and tragedy.

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Hail, Caesar  is the best kind of star-studded. Seeing George Clooney, Scarlet Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, and so many others crammed into that preview—with its quick wit and clever moments—should be enough to inspire anyone to pre-purchase tickets. Ultimately, unless the preview is entirely misleading, with its calculated scenes, its energetic music choice, and its bite-sized portions of Coen genius, Hail Caesar will be one of 2016’s must-see movies. If nothing else, go see it to find out why Baird Whitlock is being held ransom for $100,000, a question that the trailer is bound to leave you asking.

By Phil Gorski

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