Inside Llewyn Davis is the new comedy-drama film written and directed by the Coen borthers. It follows one week of a New York based folk singer in the 1960’s and while fictional it is inspired by the real life musician of Dave Von Ronk.
The film has many familiar faces in it but the lead is a relative newcomer to the movie scene. Oscar Isaac plays the titular character, Llewyn Davis a struggling folk singer. His portrayal is both funny but also melancholic and he carries the emotional weight on the film on his shoulders. Impressively Isaac actually sung all of the songs in the film and that should have seen him get at least an Oscar nod. Starring along side him include Carey Mulligan as Llewyn’s ‘friend’ who has no trouble in calling out Llewyn’s inherent flaws. She is a bitchy hash character and is is a great contrast the mostly ‘soft’ characters in the film. Coen brother’s regular John Goodman also appears as jazz musician Roland Turner , a complete oaf of a human. All of these actors are brilliant in their respective roles.
If you have watched the trailers for Inside Llewyn Davis you might be expecting a complete drama. However, the film is light hearted and funny at many points. Llewyn’s on going quest to look after a cat, that isn’t his, brings many funny points to the film. Similarly much of the dialogue and characters are extremely funny. Nevertheless, the film does have an extreme melancholic note that is represented through both the plot and the cold visuals. You should not go into this film expecting a Coen comedy such as The Big Lebowski or a drama like No Country for Old Men. It is instead a perfect hybrid between the two with the added musical spirit seen in O Brother Where Art Thou?
The film looks exactly how you expect folk music to look. The film is de-saturated with the whites and blacks softly casting shadows. Much like O Brother Where Art Thou? it is has a certain visual style that sets it apart from other films. It is a joy to look at and it completely expected that it picked up an Oscar nomination for best cinematography.
The great visuals are matched by the wonderful sound. The folk songs are well placed and are extremely well preformed. Oscar Isaac proves himself as both an acting talent but also a musical one as well. Not only are the songs great but they are recorded live at the time of recording. This really shows how great his talent is when you realize that not only is he singing but doing it there in the moment. Just like the cinematography the film has gained an Oscar nomination for best sound mixing.
Overall this film is a bittersweet tale of a struggling artist. It looks brilliant, it sounds better and the acting is superb. This is another example of how versatile the Coen Brothers can be mastering comedy, drama and everything in between.
Watch this movie and many more at the macrobert where student tickets are only £4.50.