For Reel

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
April 2, 2015, 8:34 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Director(s): Joel & Ethan Coen
5 Stars
Inside Llewyn DavisUnlike Larry Gopnik of A Serious Man and many Coen brothers protagonists before him, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is very much the master of his fate. He’s overly-proud and resentful, a man with a limited number of couches to sleep on having burnt many bridges. If he’s imperious, at least he earns some of the viewer’s respect by the virtue of his talents and ingenuity. Inside Llewyn Davis considers the relationship between art and commerce on mostly superficial terms (culminating with a powerful scene at the Gate of Horn in Chicago), but it’s also interested in the toll that narcissism takes on many great artists, even if that very narcissism often goes hand-in-hand brilliance. The circular narrative of the film is the deeply sardonic joke the Coen brothers are telling this time around, but the tone is distinctly more sorrowful than many of their films. With the wintery palette, an array of somber folk standards played in full on the soundtrack, and a melancholic performance from Issac, it feels like the brothers’ most earnest and mature effort.