Films about the film industry, eh? So arch, so damn knowing. You know the ones I mean.
The Coen Brothers dance very very close, but as the numerous choreographed choreography scenes in this show – if you know EXACTLY what you are doing, and you hire the bets talent available, and you’re lucky, you might get away with it.
They do, in spades.
Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a high level fixer and problem-solver for Capitol (this matters) studios. It’s 1951 (this matters, as does everything in this wonderful film) and he has the usual run of emergencies and logistical nightmares to contend with. He loves his job, but he can’t quit smoking, and he isn’t there for his biological family (the actors and directors are clearly his emotional family).
The film starts with him doing his job (preventing a minor scandal, paying off some cops), then confessing at 4am on one day. He seems not to sleep between then and the end of the film, at 10am ish the following day. All his crises (they overlap) happen on the hour, every hour.
This is a film about desire, duty, honour, passion, stupidity, cupidity, and – of course – artifice – the roles we play (willingly or unwilling, witting and unwitting) and the choices we make (by making them or not making them).
Oh, did I mention that it is downright hilarious, enjoyable, witty and, yes, knowing? Tilda Swinton stands out (because, I mean, she’s breathing -duh), but Brolin is amazing, as is Alden Ehrenreich). Frances McDormand is in only one scene, but it’s a doozy.
SEE THIS SUMPTUOUS FILM. It’s up there in the “films about Los Angeles” with LA Confidential, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Chinatown (but far less depressing than the last of that list. This is, after all, Hollywood, when a Catholic, a Protestant, an Orthodox Christian and a Jew could ‘debate’ a film script, and “Herb” Marcuse could be surprised by a Danny Kaye anecdote.
PS – this from wikipedia
Audiences were unenthusiastic about the film. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of “C−” on an A+ to F scale. 52% of the opening day audience were males while 84% were over 25, with both demographics giving the film a “D+” grade, while those over 50 years old gave the film a grade of “D−”. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 46% from audiences.
confirms my hunch that People Are Morons.