Film Review “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Inside Llewyn DavisStarring: Oscar Issac, Justin Timberlake and F. Murray Abraham
Directed by: Ethan and Joel Coen
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hour 45 mins
CBS Films

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

In the early 1960s folk music began its rise. Musicians from all over would come to New York City to play small clubs in Greenwich Village, hoping to make a few bucks and get their messages out. One of them is Llewyn Davis (Issac). Talented, but clearly unlovable, we meet Llewyn as he sings in a small club. After his performance he’s told that “his friend in the suit” wanted to talk with him in the alley. He soon finds himself being beaten. It is this event which bookends the latest film by the Coen brothers, “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

Sharply written and filmed with the Coen’s usual sharp eye for detail, the film follows Llewyn (Isaac) as he attempts to make a living with his music. On the street and walking around with a neighbor’s cat, Davis plays little clubs and passes the hat most of the time. And while it’s agreed that he’s quite talented, it’s also agreed that he’s a real horse’s ass! His musical partner gone, his career stalled and his agent now representing others, Davis realizes his one chance is to audition and play at a club run by the legendary Bud Grossman (Abraham) outside of Chicago.

Filled with great performances, including Timberlake and Carey Mulligan as a folk duo, the film’s high point is its outstanding musical score, overseen by Oscar winner T. Bone Burnett (“Crazy Heart”). The songs fit the time and mood of the country, from anti-war protests to a song asking President Kennedy NOT to send a man to the moon. All involved, from pro JT to actor Isaac sing beautifully and if you enjoy the film you’ll surely want to go out and buy the soundtrack CD. As Llewyn is a person better heard, and not seen, you may go ahead and thank me now for the suggestion.

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