Inside Llewyn Davis: Review

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Inside Llewyn Davis, partly inspired by the autobiography of folk musician Dave Van Ronk, takes place over a week in the life of Llewyn Davis in 1961 Greenwich Village, the centre of a growing folk scene.

Snubbed in most categories at this years oscars, Inside Llewyn Davis is an interesting but at times difficult watch.

With the recent so called revival of folk music off of the backs of bands such as Mumford and Sons, the film itself seems perfectly timed in taking a new generation back to the beginning of the folk scene, so to speak.

The problem is that actually Inside Llewyn Davis isn’t really about that. Sure it has a number of songs and sea shanties throughout, all of which are excellent, the particular highlight being “Please Mr Kennedy” but the film seems for the most part to get lost in the mysticism that so often surrounds the Coen brothers films.

This usually wouldn’t be a bad thing but the fact that this is set during a time where the folk scene is on the cusp of discovering Bob Dylan, I couldn’t help but feel like I wanted to see more of that.
The other issue I have is that I didn’t particularly like Llewyn Davis and a number of the other characters we are introduced to. I fully understand that this was more than likely intentional but I found it very difficult to get behind somebody so unlikeable.

Don’t get me wrong, the performances are all fantastic, Oscar Isaac is a revelation in this, with a turn made all the more impressive due to the fact that he can actually sing. John Goodman too just proves once again that whenever he and the Coen brothers get together, magic is made. Despite being onscreen for a short amount of time, it’s easily the best part of the film.

I know that it’s sounding that I hated this but that’s not completely true. After all even the worst Coen brothers film would be better than the majority of other films currently being released. That’s not saying that this is their worse film either, far from it.

It does have some genuinely funny moments throughout and the cinematography is brilliant.
As said before, Inside Llewyn Davis is more than anything else an interesting watch, one which will almost certainly require a second viewing for most people in an attempt to decipher everything that goes on during it’s duration.

It has some beautiful music, great performances, moments of genuine wit and a cute cat too but overall I can’t help but think that it feels like a missed opportunity.


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