Contemporary Media seen from the Right
by Richard Wolstencroft
The short version: This is a hateful piece of crap from the Coen Brothers, riffing on old Hollywood.The soulless cinematic siblings make three kinds of films: crime (which they do rather well), comedy (which they do rather poorly), and religious/metaphysical musings (which vary from so-so to poor). This, their latest effort, is a combination of the latter two categories – a weak comedy with a bit off metaphysical nonsense thrown in. That's what you're in for with Hail, Caesar!
So what is it about? The flimsy plot concerns a Hollywood star called Baird Whitlock, played by George Clooney virtually playing himself, even down to being duped by Left Wing social causes. He gets abducted by a bunch of Commies in early 1950's Hollywood.
The film then develops into both an attack on the Anglo-Saxon aesthetics of 1950s American cinema and the Jewish underbelly squirming beneath. Josh Brolin plays Eddie Mannix, a tough but conflicted "fixer" who keeps actors' scandals out of the press (à la Ray Donovan) and does various favours for his unseen boss in New York. Brolin/Mannix is given the task of solving the not too hard mystery of the disappearance of Clooney's character by "The Future" – the mad group of Hollywood Communists.
Various celebs turn up for cameos in the film, and the Coen’s mock their inspirations and subjects without much scruple. For example, there is Ralph Fiennes as Laurence Laurentz, an acclaimed European film director, which is a mean-spirited piss-take of Laurence Olivier. Scarlett Johansson shows up as Dee Ann Moran, an Esther-Williams-type actress, who becomes pregnant out of wedlock and is portrayed as a vacant-minded slut who performs in fey Busby-Berkeley-type films, and will fuck anyone – including the help.
Channing Tatum is Burt Gurney, a mysterious Gene Kelly-type actor and dancer. This is just another one of his typical poofy roles, and is just insulting on so many levels to Gene Kelly’s memory. As Tatum can’t act, one is forced to speculate that he got this role and others through some kind of casting couch arrangement.
Alden Ehrenreich is Hobie Doyle, a "singing cowboy" of the Roy Rogers sort. This is one of the best things in the film. He’s presented as a mental midget and a no-talent actor, but his old school cowboy heroism shines through in a way even the sardonic nature of the Coen Brothers can’t fully dim.
It starts with Jonah Hill, playing a character called Joseph Silverman, a surety agent who works with the studio. He’s a slimy, low-level fixer, and naturally Scarlett Johansson falls for him in what must be the most absurd matching on screen this year.
But the film really starts drawing blood when it makes clear that a lot of the Hollywood Communists – the ones who abduct Clooney/Whitlock – are, indeed, Jewish. What’s more, they are lead on by an on-screen portrayal of Herbert Marcuse himself – no less! – the Jewish counter-culture guru of the 1960s and father of Cultural Marxism.
Marcuse and the other Communists are ridiculed in an even more vicious way than the Anglo-Saxon Hollywood establishment. This is the main redeeming feature of the film, and is the main reason to see it. It should certainly get a few chuckles from the Alt-Right cognoscenti. Clearly the Coens are right-wing Jews – and that fits in with their other work, if you think about it.
The left wing Jews in Hail, Caesar! are shown to be naive, useless, ineffectual, delusional, malicious, and outright criminal in their intentions – not a million miles from Bernie Sanders, really LOL. They are shown collaborating openly with the Soviets and betraying America in a farcical U-boat scene involving Channing Tatum.
It’s all rather silly really, but rest assured the heroes – good old Anglo-Saxon Hollywood – do sort of win out in the end. But this subversive angle aside, it all makes for a giantic and emotionally uninvolving mess.
The Coens are the spoiled idiot savants of contemporary Hollywood cinema, something they admitted themselves in an interview when one of them compared making films to "being allowed to play in our sand box." The honour of creating cinema with large budgets and Hollywood’s best actors and crews is a sand box? How glib and puerile! If that is their attitude you can be pretty sure there are a few turds buried among the sand.
Richard Wolstencroft is a filmmaker, writer, events promoter, and founder and festival Director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. He has an interest in Right Wing, Conservative, and Fascist philosophy, politics, and history.