By Chuck Wilson
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Carolina Del Busto
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Michael Atkinson
By Calum Marsh
Folk music is supposed to be the music of the people. Yet at the heart of Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis, set in New York in the winter of 1961, is a folksinger with no feeling for people. Llewyn Davis, played by Oscar Isaac, is a broke, rumpled moocher who drifts from couch to couch until there are no couches left — either by drinking too much and getting rude or simply by opening his mouth to let his hostile thoughts flow out, he has a talent for alienating every friend he's got. He's also a gifted singer, the remaining half of a semi-successful duo that has broken apart with no hope of reuniting, but it's clear he's not going to be a hitmaker — the material he chooses leans toward traditional weepers about mourning dead lovers or ballads about young boys heading off to sea, music carried to America from the dark soul of the British Isles. If Llewyn had a bell, he most definitely would not ring it in the morning; he'd be too hungover, or at least just too pissed off at the world.
Llewyn is in many ways a dreadful human being, but you can't turn away from him. The Coens seem to love him, too: Inside Llewyn Davis is the warmest picture they've ever made, and though it will never attract the cultlike adoration of The Big Lebowski and Fargo, or earn the serious-lit-adaptation accolades of No Country for Old Men, it's possibly their best. Taking place over just a few days, it evokes a fleeting time, place, and vibe: The Village folk scene of the early 1960s, anchored around a few cavelike, no-frills clubs, was changed forever once Bob Dylan set foot on it — he was too explosive for it to contain him. But before that, in the heyday of Dave Van Ronk, a scruffy folk luminary who never became a true star, it was much more intimate. That pre-Dylan world, the setting for Inside Llewyn Davis, may be very small, but Llewyn is lost in it.
In the opening scene, Llewyn gets beaten up — for reasons that aren't clear until the end — in the alley behind one of the little clubs he's just played. Shortly thereafter, he loses a cat belonging to the friends who have generously put him up for a night, a lovely marmalade fellow with a question mark for a tail. And when he shows up at the doorstep of another friend, fellow folk singer Jean (Carey Mulligan), we get an even better sense of his ability to alienate people. She's furious, a thundercloud in a turtleneck and shaggy blunt bangs. As it turns out, even though she's the live-in (and singing) partner of another friend (played, wonderfully, by a super-earnest Justin Timberlake), she and Llewyn have a history. You can see why: Llewyn is devastatingly handsome in a Sephardic way, the kind of damaged goods some women can't help falling for. But Jean need only lay eyes on him before cutting him dead — she takes just like a woman, yes she does.
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Llewyn has already screwed everything up. Why stop now? Though Inside Llewyn Davis is essentially a New York movie, in a desperate effort to grab the attention of a hotshot record producer (F. Murray Abraham in a beatnik goatee), Llewyn takes a road trip to Chicago, hitching a ride with a surly big-daddy jazz cat (John Goodman) and his too-cool-for-school minder (Garret Hedlund). But Llewyn's real odyssey takes place deep inside: As Isaac plays him, he's a punky lost lamb in need of saving, though no one can get close enough to do it; his eyes say "come closer" even as he's kicking away mightily. He's impatient with stupidity, both real and perceived. But he has a capacity for tenderness, too. It's certainly there in his singing — Isaac does his own, in a voice that's dusky and sad but also luminous as the moon. He's a character in mourning, both for another person and for lost parts of himself. The latter are harder to get over.
Inside Llewyn Davis gets everything softly, quietly right. T-Bone Burnett supervised the music, and it never sounds as if it's been lifted out of some dusty vault — it's alive. Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel gives us a half-tarnished, half-burnished vision of early 1960s New York, just dreamy enough, rather than laden with false nostalgia. The movie features one of the finest marmalade-cat performances since The Long Goodbye. (Technically, we're talking about several cats, but let's look the other way for the sake of movie magic.) And although the Coens are consummate craftsmen, they don't always show the lightness of touch or the depth of feeling they do here. Llewyn is suffering, and though we can't forsake him, it's hard not to laugh at his terrible misadventures. He's behaving badly in a typically New York kind of way, fumbling his way through his stress. Intentionally or otherwise, the Coens might be channeling the Hal Ashby of The Landlord, or Next Stop, Greenwich Village–era Paul Mazursky. Whatever they're doing, it's remarkable — cockeyed humanism at its best.
Credit: CBS Films
Cutline: Bringing It All Back Home: Oscar Isaac and friend
Inside Llewyn Davis Original Soundtrack youtube.com/watch?v=YxcO53…
Por fin pude ver Inside Llewyn Davis y la disfruté. Excelente película, en mi top 5 de las películas de los Coen.
Today I've seen High Fidelity and Inside Llewyn Davis so I guess I could do one more music-themed film...
Been listening to (most of) Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack for about 3 days straight. Fun fact: I would prob see anything Oscar Isaac is in.
(2/2) ... I would have said, "That's great, but what about 'Inside Llewyn Davis', does it get snubbed at the Oscars?"
Finally saw Inside Llewyn Davis this weekend. The music rocked my socks off. Oscar Isaac is a vision. youtube.com/watch?v=7M8m4L…
@JustinePolaczyk Inside Llewyn Davis =)
I really love the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack but it makes you contemplate some sad stuff. Not always what you want, you know?
Finished watching Inside Llewyn Davis Excuse me, I think I’ll just go sit in the car with the engine running for a while
#nw Inside Llewyn Davis
Inside Llewyn Davis (Ethan&Joel Coen, 2014) 편집이 마음에 든다. 특히 르윈의 시점 쇼ㅌ로 넘어가는 부분들. 첫 씬과 마지막씬이 깉은 것은, 마음대로 되지 않아도 삶은 지속적으로 되풀이 된다? 혹은 호접지몽?
Going to watch "Moon", "The Road to El Dorado" and "Inside Llewyn Davis" you can guess wich was the one I picked
inside llewyn davis 00 Oscar Isaac hang me, oh h…: youtu.be/oWQ6DuW3Brs
@TooMuchHamza DANCE MONKEY DANCE ! it's like that scene from inside Llewyn davis
Hearing a Lana Del Rey song on an Inside Llewyn Davis inspired playlist like pic.twitter.com/QkcCMRDyfb
@xanister A lot of Cohen films are like that. Just watched Inside Llewyn Davis.
I decided to wait until August to grow my Inside Llewyn Davis beard for Con season. HUMIDITY AND CITY HEAT ARE... fb.me/3ylx297PA
Inside Llewyn Davis is easily one of the best movies I've seen. Justin Timberlake, a cat, and some excellent music. 👌
Ditunggu sampe akhir juga tetep ga tau makna filmnya -_- ★ Inside Llewyn Davis — path.com/p/4mSXQv
@k99jones Aww Im smiling at the thought. Theyre perfect. How many times do you think he told her she did amazing job on Inside Llewyn Davis?
Como no nos basta con el laburo con la música de cada día, con @noriegalalo vemos Inside Llewyn Davis y cosas así. Mátennos.
Inside Llewyn Davis #NowWatching
though at least 500 of my tweets must be about breaking bad or inside llewyn davis (i forget about how obsessed i was with the latter)
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