bbbgtoby’s review published on Letterboxd:
Llewyn Davis, Failure, may have been a more apt title for the latest Coen Brothers offering, such is the lack of insight in to the inner workings of the titular character offered by the writer-director brothers, not that that's a bad thing mind you.
Llewyn himself comes across as part empty but with some carefully constructed scenes and moments you're led to believe there's more to him somewhere that he's not yet in touch with. So why should us strangers know what's there either?
The Coens are modern cinema's true gems, two of a kind cinephiles who enhance the former celluloid world for the rest of us; taking genre film and dissecting it, poking holes and putting it back together to run smoother, better, more interesting, in ways that we never knew it could work and with Llewyn Davis I can't help but see them producing what amounts to The Coen Brothers do mumblecore, a minor role for Alex Karpovsky merely cementing the idea.
Llewyn stumbles around trying to live not exist, making more mistakes than not and generally sinking in to a pit of despair. Happy happy joy joy time! Once more it's a beautifully composed film, the camera revelling in the wonderful yet understated early 60s costume and set design and yet it also feels somewhat low-fi and grainy (surely I'm imagining this!) and similar to mumblecore there's no real story going on here, just life and conversations that don't really go anywhere. Oh how I would have loved to have made this movie, infact I'm glad I didn't make my film last year now such was the similarity between the two protagonists.
All was fabulous, placing this right at the pinnacle of their career next to Serious Man, all except the incredibly overrated Carey Mulligan (easily the worst part of this film) giving yet another lousy performance, her line delivery is shocking but to be fair her character could well have been written that way. My other issue, which really sealed the lower rating is the overlapping of the opening/closing scenes, no reason whatsoever for that gimmick guys, no reason except that you didn't know how to make the studio happy with an opening scene of a beardy folk singer waking up on somebody's sofa.