Llewyn Davis, (Oscar Issac) a struggling folk singer, travels from New York to Chicago in the 1960’s to try to establish a solo singing career, amid many obstacles.
This is a very complex movie. It is a funny movie, at first I thought it was a straight out comedy, but then it tackles serious issues, love, but not in the way a typical movie deals with it, loss in a more traditional sense and even symbolism. I was actually ruminating on the symbolism of a cat. This movie handles comedy and drama so adeptly, that it feels like real life. Life is sometimes funny, sometimes tragic and this movie echoes both extremes really well. The scenes are punctuated by hauntingly beautiful music, that adds to the overall mood of the film. The ending is appropriate to the overall film, and that’s all that needs to be said. I did not go into detail on the plot, because any details would ruin your enjoyment of the film.
The acting is superb. The cast is led by Oscar Isaac, who plays the darkly comic, sometimes morose Llewyn Davis with an innate sense of self. He knows this character inside and out. Carey Mulligan is also outstanding as the vituperative, venomous Jean, although her American accent slips every once in a while. Mulligan also has a great singing voice, as does Isaac. Justin Timberlake has a terrific singing voice, but he’s still a wooden actor, and yet he gets these plum roles, inexplicable.
The Coen Brothers are especially visual in this film, underscoring the claustrophobic feeling of living in New York City, filming down stairways, and between narrow hallways. The pacing is perfect, and the music is interspersed beautifully within the film. The brothers get beautiful, heart wrenching performances from a largely unknown cast. It reminded me somewhat of another Coen brothers film, O Brother Where Art Thou, with its comedic touches and music, but Inside LLewyn Davis is a much darker film.
This is a must-see.
Inside LLewyn Davis: Skip to my Llew!