Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Inside Llewyn Davis Plays Each Note to Perfection

Inside Llewyn Davis (5 out of 5 Stars)
Directed and Written by: Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men, Fargo, O Brother Where Art Though)
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman

Over the years the Brothers Coen have constructed some of the finest film experiences.  If you look at the work from these two men you see some of funniest, quirkiest, and intricate stories about the complexity of human nature.  There is their earliest cult work Raising Arizona, which brought a new level of funny to cinema, influencing their later works like Fargo, and The Big Lebowski.  

The Coen Brothers also have their gritty moments, which often blend with their humor, although No Country for Old Men was low on the laugh spectrum, except for Javier Barderm's bowl cut.  The Coens also set forth on a musical journey of the Odyssey with O Brother Where Art Though.  Inside Llewyn Davis has a blend of every aspect of their past films, which makes this one of, if not their best film of all time.

The film centers around Llewyn Davis (Isaac) and his journey to becoming a successful folk musician. The heart of folk music is connecting with people, but Llewyn is kind of an asshole; he surfs from couch to couch staying with a teacher, a couple who are his friends, his sister or  any stranger who is not crossed out of his notebook.

Like within O Brother Where Art Though Llewyn is on a journey right our literature, from the Odyssey with a Cat, whose name happens to be Ulysses.  Llewyn wants to get to Chicago in order to get to the man who is supposed to be selling his records.  The Coens have created a journey through the early folk music scene, prior to Bob Dylan's revolution of the genre.  The Coens use T. Bone Burnett (O Brother) once again to stage some of the the most beautiful music in the film, which defines an era, and Llewyn.

Llewyn is not only defined by the music, but by the brilliant Oscar Isaac, who gives one of the best performances of the year.  The Coens stressed the authenticity of the music, and that the full versions of songs be sung by every actor in the film.  Isaac carries the film, its performance as an actor and a musician, which must carry the film, and does so flawlessly.  Not only did Oscar Isaac create a deeply layered character through his acting, but his singing and music brought me to tears, especially his last performance.  Llewyn Davis is a complicated character, he won't be trained monkey at a dinner party, music is his work, the folk music is a part of his soul, and Isaac captures every layered moment.

The Coen Brothers came of age during this era, and their passion for the music sets the stage for everything you see in Llewyn Davis.  They created an aura of the early arrivals to this genre, in 1961 Greenwich Vilage.  Their passions combined with beautifully shot cinematography from Bruno Delbonnel tell the story of a man trying to find his footing through his passion.

The Coen Brothers take you on a bleak, and sometimes funny journey through the human soul, carried by Oscar Isaac whose turn as Llewyn Davis makes for one of the most emotional film experiences of the year,

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