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Movie Review: "Hail, Ceasar" by the Coen Brothers
This essay aims at providing a comprehensive review of the movie "Hail, Ceasar" by the Coen Brothers and address various elements present in this film such as characterization and themes.
Analysis of the Movie
Hail Ceasar is a historical-religious drama that is set in 1951 in Hollywood. This movie bears personal archeology through the way it takes places during the nineteen-fifties which are the exact period in which the Coen brothers that are Joel and Ethan who are the primary actors in the movie are born hence explaining the childhood mythology of the Coen brothers (Scott 164).
Moreover, the theme of faith and religion is depicted in the movie through portraying the Coen brothers as primarily belonging to the belief systems. That is further boosted by the image of a sculpted Christ which is shown from the very first shot of this film. The theme of religion seems to prevail in most of the scenes of this movie. For instance, Eddie who is a devout Catholic is seeing as having developed the habit of going to confess in the church his various sins such as taking bribes, telling lies, threatening others and using violence against others (Scott 168). The mainsprings of comedy, as well as drama in this movie, can be attributed to the numerous tensions of Catholic that existed in the Jewish-run Hollywood industry of the early fifties as it is evident in this movie.
One apparent weakness of this movie that the viewers can note is the underplaying of the political paranoia which relates to the nineteen-fifties era particularly among a group of communists who can be considered as self-avowed. By dropping the phrase, "naming names," there is a quick emergence of the fear of exposure and persecution of the age of McCarthyism (Eggeling 28). However, this weakness is compensated by the presence of a constant and ambient threat which involves the fear of the existing homosexuals becoming exposed in the press which puts their careers at stake. The homosexuals at the workplace in Hollywood are sometimes blackmailed and threatened to be exposed in case they fail to cooperate.
Moreover, the issue of racism is evident in this comedy. That is through the way the film is composed of all-white characters with only one black character given a role in the play. Again, the issue of gender discrimination emerges in this comedy whereby the Hollywood is seen to be male-dominated with only few woman present who are just given subordinate roles. For instance, Natalie is the personal secretary of Eddie while Thelma Ritter is an editor (Eggeling 232).
Lastly, the theme of split has in some scenes in this film emerged. For instance, about the division of labor, most of the Communists in this movie talk about the evident class divisions in the society whereby there is a group of high, middle and low-income earners. Again, when Eddy summons the priest, this priest claims that Christian God is usually divided into God the Son and God the Father hence further introducing the theme of split. Such social divisions also extend at Hollywood where you find Eddie often taking orders from Nick Schenck who is his big boss located in New York (Eggeling 38).
Eggeling, S. Coens-on-Hollywood Barton Fink, Hail, Caesar! und die Postmoderne Sicht auf Geschichte. MS thesis. (2017): 26-178.
Scott, Carl Eric. "Reflections on Faith and Film in Hail, Caesar!." Perspectives on Political Science 45.3, (2016): 163-172.
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