Title – Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Director – Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men)
Cast – Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund, Adam Driver, F. Murray Abraham
Plot – Down on his luck aspiring folk singer Llewyn Davis (Isaac) has had a tough run of it lately as he try’s to break into the music scene while dealing with a misplaced cat, a possible pregnancy to another man’s woman and a strange road trip to the wintry city of Chicago.
“If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it’s a folk song”
Review by Eddie on 28/05/2014
The Coen Brother’s certainly know how to make depressing oddly entertaining, and continuing on in the vain of Barton Fink, A Serious Man and arguably others of their films, Inside Llewyn Davis is a seriously morbid film that finds much humour in its protagonist’s failings but due to the limited nature of its story it is not hard to see why (despite many bemoaning the fact) come the Oscar nomination process Davis was virtually shut out completely… even though many hailed it one of the years best.
Our depressed figure here is Llewyn Davis, a folk singer so morbid and bereft of lightness that hanging with him for these 100 minutes can at times be as hard as the winter streets of New York. Llewyn is rightfully miffed at his current life situation as his musical partner has recently committed suicide, his new solo record is earning him nothing, he doesn’t have a place to stay and his friends woman Jean (played by Mrs. Marcus Mumford herself Carey Mulligan) is pregnant with a child that is possibly his. Many of these situations that Llewyn finds himself in are typical Coen Brother scenarios and Isaac is a fine leading man in what could well be a career defining performance for him, but it doesn’t make Llewyn any more tolerable as a person and character. With such an overly morbid tone that film is made around its fantastic music and top notch production design.
With dynamo musical producer T Bone Burnett at the helm of music duties and with help from Mumford and Sons frontman Marcus Mumford the music in Davis is such a blast that it elevates the film from what could of been a permanent state of neuroses. Setting up the tale of Lllewyn around the folk scene of the 60’s was a master-stroke move by the Brothers and is fantastically captured by cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel in what was a rightfully Oscar nominated aspect of the movie. You can feel every breath of cold winters air, every smell of a cafés cigarettes and every strum of a well played guitar. The film exudes atmosphere and would easily rank as one of the Coen’s most well filmed movies which is a grand feat indeed in a catalogue of beautiful movies.
With a great soundtrack, a well performed and casted group of actors and with a great visual eye Davis is a quality made film that is also a tale which could of done with a little more narrative scope. The journey Lllewyn and subsequently we take in the end is nothing more than slight and The Coen’s with all their other fine elements would of been wise to enhance the story that little bit more. Always watchable, often enjoyable yet not always loveable, Inside Llewyn Davis ranks as another fine Coen Brother movie but perhaps one of their less meatier jaunts.
3 and a half couches out of 5