The American duo, Joel and Ethan Coen, collectively known as the Coen brothers, have a brand of film-making that is distinctly their own which has generated a strong and loyal fan following over the past three decades. So just like you have a Wes Anderson movie which is nothing but a Wes Anderson movie whose style and quality of humour cannot be replicated by anyone else, and you have a Quentin Tarantino movie which gets defined as a ‘Tarantino’ movie for its lengthy dialogues, its action, and its unique style of story-telling, in the same way you talk about a Coen brothers movie with reverence for their dark toned humour / drama films that are unmatched by other movie directors.
Coen brothers had a flurry of movie releases between 2007 to 2010, a movie each year in fact, which is a big deal when you consider that the duo work on their own scripts before directing it. Plus their movies are always high on quality, even if some do not come across as entertaining as others. But the run fizzled out a bit when after True Grit in 2010, the next Coen brothers directed movie came out in late 2013, a gap of three years. The 2013 film was Inside Llewyn Davis (a wide release in the USA was in January 2014) starring Oscar Issac which got a lot of critical acclaim and two Oscar nominations. The next feature film of the duo was expected in 2015, but now the wait has just got extended.
Hail, Caesar! which is the title of the next Coen brothers’ film, is going to be released on February 5, 2016. That marks a 26 month gap between the previous Coen brothers’ film and the upcoming one. The duo have been also busy in working on a few scripts for other movie-makers such as the upcoming Unbroken which has been directed by Angelina Jolie; this too is likely to have been a factor for the long gap between their own movies. Nonetheless, there is a lot of interest around Hail, Caesar! and this one could turn out to be one of the bigger hits of their career.
To start with, it is a Coen brothers’ film so that itself is a good enough reason to be excited about it. Next up, there is the incredible cast that has been assembled for the film. It is the kind of ensemble that Wes Anderson would have been proud of. Among the men we have the veterans Josh Brolin, George Clooney and Ralph Fiennes, and the upcoming stars (and the 21 Street duo) Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. Among the women, we have the talented and amazing duo of Scarlett Johansson and Tilda Swinton. Then this is a comedy film which is likely to have a dark edge to it, and I do love the comical elements that Coen brothers build into their movie scripts more than the drama angles. This movie will also be a period drama based in the 1950s which is an act that Coen brothers are great at; their movies create a very authentic rustic feel whenever required as we saw in Inside Llewyn Davis which is based in early 60s, and Fargo and No Country for Old Men which are based in the 80s, and the old western touch in True Grit. Their movies have got an Oscar nomination nod more than a few times for the Cinematography work which is truly outstanding. While a February release does not usually put a movie in the Oscar race, this one might just be a little different. Or maybe a limited release may come up a month before that could make it eligible for the 2016 Academy Awards.
A brief movie plot for Hail, Caesar! has been released by Universal Pictures which goes like this, “Hail, Caesar! follows a single day in the life of a studio fixer who is presented with plenty of problems to fix.” The roles of the various actors have not been elaborated much, but you can already start to taste the drama of Hollywood of the 1950s and feel the laughs that this premise could bring. Or maybe I am just getting carried away. 2016 is a long way away from here, and till then all we can do is sit tight and let Coen brothers do their job… which they are very good at!