Inside Llewyn Davis ★★★★

The Coen brothers: Ranked
2013: Ranked

«If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it's a folk song.»
—Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis is literally a little but modest and yet incredibly captivating passage of the life of one curious character: the musically passionate, greatly talented, unfortunate and volatile Llewyn Davis. A longing man refusing to grow up, a man turned down by a life drove by rejection and badly-timed decisions.

Oscar Isaac plays Llewyn Davis excellently. You could see everything he’s been through and why he can’t move forward. With his performance, Llewyn Davis feels incredibly real. The passion to the music was stunning to me; he describes his character by how he plays and by how he reacts to music, he expresses so different things through the song’s performances conveying a range of moods to the film. On the supportive roles, we have the always-reliable Carey Mulligan, a good Justin Timberlake, and an amusing John Goodman to make the things better.

Intensifying that cold mood of that period of Llewyn Davis’ life, we have the beautiful snowy cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel. He builds this icy atmosphere using subtle tones of blue, green and brown, evoking some bitterness in the scenes. The direction of the Coen brothers is always great; their angles are absolutely impeccable. They know how to pace a story, even though it is slow, and how to make it fluid. They implement suggestive elements to enhance the story, without being too blatant about them. Taking the form of a folk song, the film uses a cyclic narrative as an invitation to experience how different we feel about the same opening and closing scene.

I think the soundtrack is the thing I love the most of this film. In the film Llewyn Davis, being a folk singer, navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene in the 1960’s, so the music here is absolutely a treat. With songs performed by Marcus Munford, Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and Bob Dylan, there was no possibility of me disliking it.

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