The latest Coen brother’s film, “Inside Llewyn Davis” is not a film for everyone. It’s not soaked in gore, sex, or foul language; the usual reasons to turn people away from seeing movies. (Okay, it does have foul language, but in good taste.) Instead, its not for everyone because it isn’t Hollywood enough. And that is what makes it good.
The Coen brothers capture the essence of the struggling musician. We find Llewyn on the stage, singing with life & passion. Yet, beaten in back alley the next moment. This cycle sets us off on the bobbing that is Llewyn’s reality. As bad luck strikes him, you desire for him to speak up for himself or get over it somehow, yet he does not know how. Until he pulls out his guitar, then the pain, strife, & desires of his life truly come out. You join Llewyn as the struggles of life wash away with each chord & note. The Coen’s enhance this with blurred edges & over muted tones of color throughout the entire film. From time to time, Llewyn seems to find a way up & out, and your helpless not to route for him in this, yet much like a dream he snaps out of it, unwilling to compromise to the polished image & tone that dominated music back then. As we follow Llewyn, we desire that “big break” for him & hope for it just before the credits. But the Coen brothers bring us back to the first song that we saw Llewyn perform. Then the beating in the alley. And leaves us with a taunting track of Bob Dylan as Llewyn picks himself up again. The lack of resolution is fitting for Llewyn’s life. You are left questioning if he ever makes it as artist. And the fact that you ask yourself that question is proof that he already is.
Its not for everyone but Inside Llewyn Davis is for the musician at heart, the folk music fan, & the eccentric movie goer.