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“Inside Llewyn Davis” – Review (POSITIVE)

December 8, 2013

Screen shot 2013-12-08 at 10.10.04 PMThe Coen’s bring us a movie that certainly goes off tangent from their usual…thing. I’m not saying this is no Coen brothers film, it is, their humor is in there, but there’s something about it that just feels too different to films where they do try to be different, anyone remember “No Country for Old Men”? Be that as it may, “Inside Llewyn Davis” accomplishes something that may be a tad hard to do, tell a bleak story about finding success and some how shining hope when things are at it’s darkest.

“Inside Llewyn Davis” has us follow a week in the life of young up and coming folk singer, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles — some of them of his own making. With a neighbors cat at his side, and the constant worries and misfortunes life continues to throw at him Llewyn is caught in the middle of make difficult life decisions that can define him and his future.

Joel & Ethan have taken a rather unorthodox departure from the status quo of their typical production, nixing the collaboration of their long time cinematography Roger Deakins, in favor of Bruno Delbonnel. Bruno brings this other worldly/blue color palette that really helps transcendent this film into another world and time. If there’s one thing that draws me to this films cinematography, its that every scene looks like a classic album cover to some kind of folk track. The scenes in the Gaslight Cafe are some of the best and beautifully shot scenes in the movie.

Carter Burwell, a name synonymous to the brothers Coen is missing in action, instead, the Coen’s reunite with music mogul T-Bone Burnett, not since “O’ Brother Where Art Thou?” have these men worked together, and like before, they produced a magnetic soundtrack. With a little help from Mumford and Sons, Marcus Mumford (husband to co-star Carey Mulligan), some of the best pieces of music is produced in this feature, and will surly garner Oscar attention in the best song department for the hit single heard in all of the trailers, ‘Fare Thee Well’, an ode to Bob Dylan’s ‘Farewell’.

Screen shot 2013-12-08 at 10.10.37 PMBut, what is it really that drew me closer to this film than anything else the Coen’s have produced in the last decade? Joel & Ethan Coen have created a vast amount of anti-heroes/losers in their 30 year run as filmmakers. All of them have something in common; they represent the people. We can identify with them, we understand them, and sometimes we respect them. We want to smoke a ‘J’ with the Dude, we want to go on an adventure with Everett, we’ll share stories with Barton Fink, and we share the melancholy life throws at  you with Llewyn.

For some of us, most of us, we fear not being able to succeed in life, we’re scared to see our dreams destroyed by failure. Sometimes, it takes a sucker punch to the face to realize that life will push you down, and all you can do in return is shout out, “au revoir”! Not in the sense that you’re giving up, but to say goodbye to those troubles…for now, so one day we face them head-high, being able to prove to them, as well as yourself, that you can overcome the harsh obstacles of life.

GRADE: A-

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