Adrian’s review published on Letterboxd:
'If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it's a folk song.'
I don't really know, but I think that this was the most-anticipated rewatch I have ever had. The first time I saw Inside Llewyn Davis was about a year ago, and I have already loved it. Since then, there has been no day I didn't think about this movie. There were so many pictures, there are so many quotes that got stuck in my head, and I knew I needed to see this again. After rewatching it, I can finally say that Inside Llewyn Davis is one of the greatest movies I have ever seen, and it's now a part of my all-time favourites.
Llewyn Davis maybe is the greatest character the Coen's have ever created. He's the perfect anti-hero. He's wandering the streets of New York, searching for a purpose in life. He's a talented musician, but his music doesn't make him a living. His singing partner has commited suicide, and he doesn't fare very well with that, to put it nicely. He's couch-surfing the city, and he's smoking whenever there is a chance to smoke. He's a grumpy guy, and it seems like there's nobody that actually likes him. Maybe that's the reason why he is so likeable for me. Whenever he picked his guitar, I fell for him. The several moments, when he picked his guitar and all his emotions that he hadn't been able to show you before were oozing out, are simply outrageous.
The story of Llewyn is just as brilliant as sad. As much as I love it to watch Llewyn make his way from couch to couch, finding his purpose in life, I do equally suffer with him. It's simply hard to watch him being rejected again and again, be it by his long-lost love, his so-called friends or by the guy that closed his door into the music business. It is extremely characteristic that at the moment when Llewyn got beaten up outside the club, a young guy called Bob Dylan made his breakthrough. This one scene was like a metaphor for Llewyn's whole life, and it nearly killed me.
Talking about metaphors, I loved the picture of the cat. I didn't get it the first time I had watched this movie, so I was even more thunderstrucked today. It's got something to do with that phone call, at the very beginning of the movie. Llewyn is the cat. The cat is called Ulysses. Llewyn's father was a sailor. Llewyn is trying to follow in his footsteps. Everything fits together perfectly. Just as Ulysses, Llewyn is on a odyssey through life, and the different couches he's surfing are his ports. There are several nautical themes in this movie, processed through several of Llewyn's songs, and they all point to the fact that Llewyn is the cat. That's simply brilliant.
Oscar Isaac's performance is one of the most outstanding performances I have ever witnessed. It feels like he's living Llewyn, you can literally feel how he's plunging into the world he's living in. He's perfectly complemented by a brilliant cast consisting Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and Adam Driver. Oh, I almost forgot to mention John Goodman. His appearance is simply hilarious, and he refined Llewyn's trip to Chicago.
The direction of the Coen brothers is simply marvelous in here. It's the way the story is told in here that was leaving me speechless again. The end is like the beginning, and the beginning is like the end. Is there even a beginning, and is there even an end? It seems like Llewyn is stranded in some kind of continuous loop, and the way the viewer experiences this disaster, is simply brilliant.
The technical aspects of this movie are nothing less than flawless. The camerawork is sheer perfection, and the visuals are breathtaking. As can be relayed from the movie poster, the dominating colours in this movie are black, grey and brown. Thus, the mood is very oppresive and depressive, but that didn't disturb me with the slightest, quite the opposite, I loved it.
Inside Llewyn Davis is what I would call movie magic. Throughout its whole runtime there was a smile on my face, and I can't even explain why. It's a true masterpiece, and quite rightly, this movie earns its place at my heart from now on.