Inside Llewyn Davis
Out Now On-Demand
Coen brothers' dramedy set against the 1960s New York/Greenwich Village folk scene, loosely based on the travails of singer-songwriter Dave Van Ronk. Stars Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Oscar Isaac (Drive) in the lead. Grand Jury Prize winner at Cannes 2013.
Struggling folk singer Llewyn Davis (Isaac) has lost his musical partner Mike to suicide and his foray into being a solo musician with the album Inside Llewyn Davis is selling poorly. Davis spends his nights on friends' couches and his days trying to score his big break. Finding himself variously in the middle of a love triangle with friends Jim (Timberlake) and Jean (Mulligan); on the road to Chicago with fellow musicians; or getting beaten up outside music venues, this is one tough week in the life of Llewyn Davis.
Grand Prix winner at Cannes Film Festival 2013
Rating: M Offensive language
With Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel and Ethan Coen once again demonstrate their position as cinema’s most consistently reliable purveyors of cultural specificity, here taking us on a tour through the pre-Dylan boho dumping grounds of the early-’60s folk scene in New York. Narratively it seems to suggest a meeting point between the nightmarish, existential and creative struggles of Barton Fink and the old-timey Southern folk vernacular of O Brother, Where Art Thou?, but that doesn’t even begin to capture the misty, lovely melancholia evoked here.
In a sublimely haunted, richly soulful performance in which he skillfully balances acting and singing/playing duties, Oscar Isaac (Drive) is the couch-surfing East Village troubadour of the title who’s trying to get his solo career off the ground after his musical partner’s suicide. Blessed with a soaring voice and nimble finger-picking skills, the guy’s no slouch on stage, but in his unwavering quest to maintain artistic integrity, he finds himself fumbling through a series of mishaps, disappointments and frayed relationships.
Expect the usual offbeat Coen touches -- the odd surreal detour, the exaggerated characters (see: John Goodman’s obnoxious junkie jazz elitist) -- but also a degree of unexpected warmth in all the bleakness. While there’s humour to be found in the various depictions of folk music in the film, it’s no A Mighty Wind, and the patience afforded to showcasing Isaac’s several, stirring, heart-stopping performances conveys sincerity and respect on the Coens’ part.
Inside Llewyn Davis is pure Coens and at the same time, unlike anything they’ve made: it’s a beautiful, unassuming, rewarding ache of a movie.
Time Out New York
New York Times
Sydney Morning Herald
Beautifully melancholic character study.
Inside Llewyn Davis
Smart, unconventional and joyfully bleak. It's not the most cohesive story, but the musical numbers are wonderful and Oscar Isaac is fantastic as Llewyn Davis, a man whose constant struggle is just to know what he wants.
A beautiful film with a soundtrack I (happily) can't get out of my head. Who would have thought I'd ever like a Justin Timberlake song?
There but for fortune......
For anyone who lived through the folk era when Bob Dylan ruled every hipsters heart, this film is a must see. For anyone who feels the pain of struggling through life with a story to tell and no-one seemingly listening, this film is a must see. For every Coen fan this film is a must see.
The story of a talented but selfish man told as only the Coen brothers can. These film making brothers are surely an American national treasure who capture life in America with truth and poetry and raise the creative bar very high indeed.
Having said that, if you don't dig folk music this flick could wear very thin very fast.
Inside Llewyn Davis
Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country For Old Men, masterful filmmakers Joel & Ethan Coen never disappoint. Profound, melancholy, and utterly enthralling. Inside Llewyn Davis is no exception. This brilliant period piece is the Coen's on exhilarating form. Set in 1961, the film follows the week of struggling folk singer Llewyn Davis, trying to make his way through life and get his solo career off the ground after his music partner jumped off the George Washington Bridge. Oscar Issac shines in his first leading role as Llewyn, making a character who could have easily been unlikable sympathetic. Misty and atmospheric, the bleakness is lightened up the Coen's typical wit and quirk. John Goodman is hilarious as obnoxious jazz musician Roland Turner. The film has a fantastic folk soundtrack sung by Oscar Issac, Justin Timberlake and Carry Mulligan. Inside Llewyn Davis isn't as accessible as The Big Lebowski or O Brother, Where Art Thou? But this is one of the Coen brother's very best films.