John Hanlon Reviews

Film Reviews

Inside Llewyn Davis

Genre: Drama

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake

MPAA-Rating: R

Release Date: December 20th, 2013

Llewyn Davis is a man without a home. He drifts from one friend’s couch to another one, viagra
never even thinking about finding a permanent bed to lay his head on. A folk singer portrayed by a bearded Oscar Isaac, this hopelessly idealistic character is the subject of the new Coen brothers’ drama Inside Llewyn Davis.

In the true spirit of its title, the feature seeks to examine its main character by watching him— without judgment— over the course of a week’s time. It opens in New York’s Gaslight Café in 1961. Davis sings and plays guitar to an appreciative crowd. Later on, Davis wakes up at the beautiful home of the Gorfeins (Ethan Phillips and Robin Bartlett), two incredibly generous and wlecoming people, but on the way out the door, the Gorfein cat escapes leading Davis to spend the rest of the day wandering the streets with the cat— two lost souls not realizing how much they long to be home.

The cinematography throughout this story is spectacular, showing Davis in a melancholy color palette throughout his journey. There are very few scenes of bright lights or extremely dark colors, showing the passive existence of the main character. He exists and survives but there are few high points for him and few low ones.

Even when he journeys to Chicago for a chance at a more permanent gig and a manager who can offer him more than a warm smile and a winter coat, Davis seems to be simply going through the motions. He wants a permanence to his life but settles for being a drifter. True to form, Davis isn’t open with his emotions or willing to delve into his personal life but slowly as we watch him, we see him reveal aspects of his past, sometimes sarcastically (as is the case with the scenes he shares with the boozy and obnoxious Roland Turner, played by John Goodman).

When Davis is given the opportunity to make a quick buck by singing a song with some fellow musicians, he accepts it instead of waiting for the royalties.  He lives and strives to exist day to day. It’s not a way to live but he is the perfect subject for a movie like this. Inside Llewyn Davis isn’t judgmental about its title character, leaving audiences to make their own decisions. The first right one they can make is seeking out this film.

Review by: John Hanlon