Inside Llewyn Davis ★★★★

Inside Llewyn Davis is aimless as is its protagonist, drifting through life like a stray cat. It's no wonder that the film goes full circle in the layout of plot showing how Llewyn never progresses and always ends up right back at the beginning. His suffering and shame is futile yet he urges to live rather than just exist and who could blame him. He is directionless and his outcome is completely bitter. The Coens whether intentionally or not have created one of the most depressing films about artistic failure that I have ever seen. It is not a circumstance of when life gets you down you have to fight back, it is more of when life gets you down and you are too damn sick and tired to keep trying.

Llewyn is tired.

Oscar Issac is nothing short of brilliant in the role and puts on one of my favorite male performances of the year. Alot of the credit however that makes the character of Llewyn Davis one of my favorite doomed protagonists is certainly in how the Coens wrote him. Davis being the couch hopping musician with no goals other than when he is going to get his next gig or where he will sleep that night. He maintains his artistic integrity, his sarcasm and wit but to no avail, always the loser as his counterpart Jean (Carry Mulligan) berates him as. I can connect alot with the weary and struggling artist with dreams that slowly fade like the dying flame turn to smoke. Suddenly one has to give in just to exist.

I must say I did indeed like this film a great deal and in moments I experienced tremendous sincerity from the Coen's work. However it does unfortunately carry some weaker links as well. For instance the meaninglessness behind Davis's deceased ex-partner and having never explored those earlier roots or cause for suicide. Why did the Coens even have that piece of information in the film if they were never going to do anything with it? And as much as I liked Davis's odyssey and the brief encounters he shares with the various denizens of Greenwich village or the music industry some were perhaps too brief. I also thought Mulligan and her character drawn a tad bit too over dramatic and cartoony, did not care for her performance or part. Another thing is outside of Llewyn's own perspective (which is all that the audience sees from), the Coens did not really highlight the era as much as I would have hoped of the 60's Greenwich village folk movement. Although they did add a nice little touch of Dylan in the end.

If it were not for some of these flaws, minor or not, this film has the potential to be the Coen brother's best. I do think that the exploration of this eccentric and symbol of a man in Llewyn Davis is so rich in material and thematic metaphor that it would be the staple film for the dying artist.

Robert liked this review