Directors: Ethan and Joel Coen
Writers: Ethan and Joel Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Adam Driver, Max Casella and Justin Timberlake
Studio: CBS Films
“Inside Llewyn Davis” is Quixotic tale about a loser that can work his folk music magic. People hate him and they’re not wrong to despise this couch hopping loser. But, he’s also a self-tortured artist that misses his dead friend terribly. Llewyn Davis used to be in a revolutionary folk music duo, that was until his partner jumped to his death from the George Washington bridge. The upper crust want him to keep performing the duo’s major hit, but all he hears is people missing his better half.
A film about a dead partnership isn’t always the easiest sell. Most non-creative folk won’t get the impact that living on as an unfulfilled artist would bring. Davis could become his own voice, but the quick flashes of his past showcase his greatest handicap. The titular character is terrified of continuing the disappointments that have plagued his life. But, he keeps stepping on his feet trying to lift himself to another level.
I trust the Coen Brothers. Few directors have a stronger body of work and they can jump genres with the ease of Kubrick. However, they enjoy creating characters that embody the worst of us all. For the first two decades, I dug it as I could see some redeeming qualities in these individuals. But, something happened when the Coens started stepping into the world of Cormac McCarthy. The audience was forced to accept moral ambiguity under a gray cloud.
The short runtime of the film helps the narrative. When the film’s over, you have no need to revisit Llewyn Davis. The audience gets to bookend his story and they feel that they truly understand him. There’s no need to worry about unwanted babies or runaway cats anymore. We meet Davis, we found out what makes him function and everything else is just dressing. Sad dressing about a dreamer who doesn’t realize that his dream died, but dressing nonetheless.
Ultimately, I don’t care for Llewyn Davis as a person. While he is an artist, he’s a terrible person that keeps living off the graces of others. When Bob Dylan performs at the Gaslight immediately after Davis finishes, something happens. Whether it’s the critical punch in the face that fails to cause a sudden realization or the sleazy club owner putting everything into context. The world of Llewyn Davis isn’t meant for him to exist without a partner.
RELEASE DATE: 12/20/2013