Inside Llewyn Davis

Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5

Inside Llewyn Davis is the new Coen Brothers movie about a folk singer struggling for success in a one week period in 1961.  I liked this a lot but I do not think it quite makes the top echelon of Coen Brothers many diverse films.

This is a really good, sad character study as success eludes Davis on both a personal and professional basis often times due to self inflicted actions.  Oscar Isaac stars as Davis.  I had never even heard of him before and he totally dominates the movie.  I think he was probably in every scene and he did a great job performing the  music as well as acting.

The music definitely evoked the music of the era and much of the music was played in it’s entirety which was a pleasant surprise.  T-Bone Burnett, who wrote the music for Crazy Heart and many Coen Brothers movies wrote the music with Isaac.

While overall this is a sad movie the Coen’s do inject a fair amount of humor including a great song about JFK  and the space program sung by Isaac, Justin Timberlake (showing he could have been a successful folk singer) and Adam Driver (from Girls).

Definitely check this one out.

Bill I’s Review – 4 out of 5

The main character, Llewyn Davis, is based on Dave Van Ronk, a genuine folk singer that I have never listened to. I thought his singing (Oscar Davis in a tremendous performance) in this film is excellent, and was shocked when he gets told at one desperate point that it’s not a money making sound, but it must be true because Van Ronk was never a big seller as far as I know. There’s a cool scene towards the end where you see Bob Dylan (an actor playing him of course) on stage with his unique voice at the Gaslight club, who proved there’s money and fame to be made if you were good, and unique, enough. Or maybe a big dose of luck and timing. To base a movie on such a sad character who is also fairly despicable at times and still make it compelling is an amazing feat. But it’s a great character, who is multi-dimensional, with the overriding theme of the life of an artist. An artist who is so focused, and self-centered, on his craft that it blinds him to what he needs to do to be successful. The life of a self-destructive artist. The visuals are great as usual in a Coen brothers film, although nothing that brings us out of reality. Throughout it’s an understated film, with some unexpected funny/shocking scenes, and not much that is predictable.


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