“This motion picture contained no visual representation of the godhead.”
At face value, this would appear to be a very flimsy plot interspersed with some highly entertaining scenes from imaginary movies from the 1950s. But this is just the surface.
Joel and Ethan Coen wander through the back lot of Hollywood exploring the subject of faith – whether it’s faith in religion, political ideals or in other people, it all boils down to what’s important to you and what you’re willing to stand up for. The outward glamour of the movies, which Josh Brolin’s Eddie Mannix works so hard to maintain, is merely the top layer of a murkier reality – and the same could be said for organised religion and political movements. What do you do if your faith in your chosen system is challenged – walk away, or stay with it because it has worth?
And while the film is asking these serious questions, it also has you laughing and grinning the whole time with the glorious sequences from the various films in production around the studio.
Everyone on-screen plays their part to perfection, (I specify on-screen for a reason – what on earth was the Michael Gambon voiceover for?) and perhaps my favourite of the non-showy performances was Heather Goldenhersh (Mannix’s secretary Natalie). Alden Ehrenreich’s Hobie Doyle is sparkling, and his spaghetti lasso sequence so well executed.
But the show-stopper has to be Channing Tatum. His is a proper, skillful dance routine reminiscent of Gene Kelly musicals, but which has obvious deeper connotations and it’s worth seeing the film for this sequence alone.
Now, can we please see the Burt Gurney musical all the way through?