Sometimes you hear a lot about a movie; you read reviews, check ratings, and finally end up not knowing what to expect. And in this case, Inside Llewyn Davis was a surprise. When I thought it would be another decent musical, it turned out to be black comedy and satire with the Coens written all over it.
The story is as simple as it gets: a week in the life of Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a young musician, back in the 60s and the folk music scene.
I had to watch Inside Llewyn Davis twice to be able to write an honest review, and I’m glad I did. At first, I didn’t quite understand what the Coens were trying to tell us. Sure, there’s an image of the big bad world and the struggle to survive, though I don’t think it was enough to be sending a message. The Coens leave at least four stories unresolved and many characters underdeveloped, you start asking yourself if there’s a point to all this. It’s like they recreated the 1960s and the Greenwich Village folk scene without having anything to say about them.
But when I watched the movie the second time, it felt different. I wasn’t looking for anything because there’s nothing to look for. I understood Llewyn better: a struggling far-from-perfect artist who’s not looking to make an impression in the world rather than just make it in the world. He’s a part of everyone of us. And for that, the movie’s simplicity was its beauty. No deep emotions and tense situations, no crying and cheap attempts of drama, just a comic musical. Seriously, the Coens know how to make you laugh in the scenes you least expect. And if you’re looking for some abstract messages, focus on the cat and Llewyn.
And even if the movie says nothing, it was brilliantly put together. The cinematography was a thing of joy, and the cast clicked together perfectly. We also get to see an old school John Goodman, and Oscar Isaac delivering the best performance I’ve seen him give. He was excellent. And of course, the outstanding soundtrack goes a long way.
A lot of people will think that Inside Llewyn Davis is dull because it doesn’t go deep enough, but I thought it was a brilliant piece of movie making that should be taken as it is. Maybe, if this was the Coen Brothers’ first movie, more people would have appreciated it.