Hollywood in the fifties was an illusion factory that provided the American public with entertainment, dreams, and something to believe in. Hail, Caesar! the newest Coen brothers movie through its colorful characters and hilarious parodies of old hollywood films carries the deeper undertones of the philosophy of belief. The film centers around Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), a hollywood executive and shady spin doctor who sweeps the actors personal dirt under the rug to keep their public image pristine. He handles everything from organizing a group think tanks of religious leader to having a promiscuous unmarried actress “adopt” her own child. The drama of the film occurs when Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), a big time actor, playing the starring role of a large budget film about a Roman general who is inspired by Jesus, is kidnapped by a group of communist who call themselves The Future. The film mockingly comments on the illusion behind these belief systems that are corrupted and created by pitiful human beings. The scene that exemplifies this best is when Whitlock, in character as the Roman general, delivers a moving monologue which brings everyone on the set of the film to tears… until Whitlock forgets his lines, and all of his Roman countrymen immediately break character. Even as an audience member, you are entranced by listening to Whitlock’s speech, and all of poor real life character flaws seem to fall away. The theme of embarrassing human elements behind the belief in the film extends to the kidnapers as well. The kidnappers aren't entranced by the illusion of film, but rather communism. The kidnappers talk high brow philosophy about how they are hastening the creation of the New Man. But once we take a step back we see that they are just spouting fluffy pretentious non-sense. We see that are are just a bunch of underpaid screenwriters who at their group meetings serve finger sandwiches. The Coen Brother New film is on the surface a delightful comedy, but deeper down comments on the human tendency of willingness to believe.
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