Inside Llewyn Davis

January 13, 2014 No Comments

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It is impossible to complete a valid “Best Movies of 2014” without a screening of  “Inside LLewyn Davis” the newest film by the prolific Coen Brothers.

LLweyn Davis (played by a mesmerizing Oscar Issac) is a sad-eyed folk singer, struggling to “make it” in the nascent folk movement.  Talented, but angry and self absorbed, Davis is a familiar Coen archetype:  a loner who is tossed mercilessly by a hostile world and his own misguided efforts.  His journey throughout the film (accompanied for the most part by a cat named Ulysses, of course) flows and sputters as he encounters challenges to his success and his humanity. Davis’s relationship capacity seems suspect, despite an ability to sing sweetly about loss, love and longing.   John Goodman, Carrie Mulligan and Justin Timberlake head a sublime supporting cast.  T Bone Burnett, responsible for the  the musical magic in the wonderful “O Brother, Where Art Thou” helps re- create the feel of the folk world in 1961.  The music is sung live, which provides the gritty/sweet sound necessary to immerse us.

The cinematography is pure Coen Brother:  lighting underscores the emotional punch and the carefully constructed scenes intermix the real with the imaginary (and yes, I do also mean in the Lacanian sense as well).

Critics have been somewhat mixed:  is this a film ONLY about a point in time?  Is it about nothing?  Spoiler:  This is a beautiful film, that in its quiet way takes us “inside” Llewyn Davis.  We squirm with what we find.  We may feel sad and frustrated with the Lack(yeah another intentional Lacan reference) and what we prefer him to be.  We will grapple with disappointment and failure, surrounded by the melancholy melodies that defined the folk movement.

One of the VERY best films of the year.

Jolyn Wagner

Must See Movie of the Week

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