starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, Clancy Brown, Wayne Knight and Michael Gambon (narrator)
written and directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
The film is a fictional story that follows the real-life "fixer" Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) working in the Hollywood film industry in the 1950s, trying to discover what happened to a cast member who vanishes during filming.
Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is a major star kidnapped from his Roman Empire movie set by communist writers and held for ransom. Whitlock is handsome and famous, but more than a little clueless.
There are movies within this movie as Mannix works in the midst of the industry. The story is peppered with uniformly terrible fake movies starring people like Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum. Mannix works non-stop, morning to night rushing from one place to another rescuing actors, covering up pregnancy, alcohol and drug problems, sexual deviance, protecting actors’ image, negotiating contracts, confirming details of every sort. He’s so busy I thought my head could explode just watching him. His work exposes the mirage of glamorous Hollywood. I mean, behind the fame, the wealth and tinsel is a universe of unheralded dirty work.
I liked the communist writer/kidnappers the best. It bothers me to think of young viewers not understanding them - 1950s America, McCarthyism, blacklisting and all that.
There are so many wonderful extra parts played in this movie by so many recognizable character actors I want to mention Wayne Knight as the Lurking Extra, David Krumholtz as a Communist writer, and Clancy Brown as Baird Whitlock’s co-star in the movie Hail Caesar: A Tale of the Christ.