Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis ★★★★★


"I'm tired."

"You're tired?"

"I'm so fucking tired...I thought I needed a night's sleep, but it's more than that."

A masterpiece of 21st Century Art and without any sort of doubt in my mind remains to be The Coen Brothers' finest piece of their cinematic touch, but Inside Llewyn Davis is more than their oddest, strangest, and melancholic work to date. It's a work of refined beauty, accomplished simplicity, and maturity in their otherwise eccentric and quirky oeuvre and manages to show their deep understanding of the most saddening and secluded mind, both the mind of a deeply broken man and a frustrated, unsuccessful artist, both trying to find a balance inside Llewyn's disjointed mind.

It's easy to note that Llewyn Davis isn't the most likable protagonist in a film, let alone a Coen Brothers feature film, yet we get a grasp on his mannerisms, his flaws, and his pains just as familiar as you know your own or I know mine. Above all, besides being a freeloader, asshole, womanizer, and any other negative adjective you throw at him, he's a man just drifting, attempting to do something you or I do on the daily basis: try to find his place in this big, vast, and competitive world. Which seems to be a recurring theme in the wide and diverse work the Coen Brothers manifest, yet in Inside Llewyn Davis, everything seems more somber, more painstakingly true and unflinchingly real.

The Coens manage to expand upon Llewyn's life in the 100 minute runtime rather perfectly and we've become familiar with Llewyn as a character to the point that we'd know a Llewyn in our lives to relate to (in my friends lives, I'd, unfortunately, be Llewyn); Llewyn struggles to gain some sort of a stable lifestyle, instead bumming on couches of friends and family. He feels detached from their seemingly happy lives --Jean and Jim are popular musicians at the clubs Llewyn performs with, the Gorfeins are rich and well off (and Llewyn feels that he's merely used as a windup toy for their amusement), and even Al Cody has a girlfriend to look forward to-- because he's surrounded in a world that he rejects because he feels so isolated that he can't seem to connect with his peers as they don't seem to exhibit the same underlined cries for help that he radiates. He drifts, with the suicide of his former friend and performer clinging to the walls of his mind like a stinky substance. He secludes himself with his pain and his Depression because he can't really find someone to help him through it; no one understands Llewyn Davis because Llewyn Davis doesn't really understand himself. He's alone, but not really. He drifts, but doesn't really have to. He buries it all in, but doesn't realize that there are people looking out for him. He wants to exist, but can't seem to find reasons to exist. He worries that he'll end up like his father, with his mind slipping further and further away from him, finds former friends and family unrecognizable, and shits all over himself because he can't go to the bathroom alone.

Inside Llewyn Davis is undoubtedly the Coen Brothers most complex work; a piece filled with so much analyzation and dissecting that several viewings feel like it's not enough to explain the world they've built. It's a woven tapestry of faded dreams and memories, some that vanish, some that cling for relevance. A work of unrelenting dedication and masterful concoction, stained with melancholic pain and broken hearts.

"Hang Me, Oh Hang I'll be dead and gone...."

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