After the melancholy “Inside Llewyn David,” the Coen Brothers are making a more comical movie with their next effort. The Coens are setting out to make “Hail Caesar” as their next film, but it has nothing to do with the Roman statesman. “Hail Caesar” is a Hollywood based film set in the 50s with a character known as a fixer. Eddie Mannix works for the Hollywood studio system in an era where all the actors were contracted to the studios. His job is to fix problems that arise to keep the actor’s reputations intact.
It will take the Coen Brothers back to the theme of some of their more popular movies, where clueless characters stumble through awkward situations with no idea how to deal with the real problems at hand.
The Coen Brothers had created buffoons before in their movies, with the bad guys in “Blood Simple” and the child kidnappers in “Raising Arizona,” but with “Barton Fink” they perfected the character that fit the archetype perfectly. John Turturro stars as the title character, a playwright who was hired to script a wrestling movie in the 40s. Hearing the plot of “Hail Caesar,” this is the movie that seems to come to mind first in comparison. Turturro plays his character as arrogant and self assured, with no idea how clueless he really is. It is a masterpiece of the buffoonery that the Coens love to use in their stories.
Two years later, the Coen Brothers had their biggest success with “Fargo,” a movie that picked up seven Oscar nominations. This movie stars William H. Macy as the buffoon of the story, a car salesman who pays to have his wife kidnapped to try to extort money from his greedy father-in-law. Things don’t go as well as planned and he ends up in deeper than he ever expected. The entire movie is spent when him trying to cover his tracks, poorly, to great comic effect.
“Burn After Reading”
The last Coen Brothers movie that really relied on their dark comic genius was “Burn After Reading” in 2008. This movie has an all-star cast in the story of two hapless gym employees who find a CD that they believe contains top secret government information. When things go horribly wrong, as they always do in a Coen Brothers movie, they make one bad decision after another until the dead bodies start piling up. By the end of the story, it is a typical day in the life of the Coen Brothers.