It’s hard for me not to try to relate to the titular character in “Inside Llewyn Davis“. I too have slept on my fair share of couches. I too have spent many a night in plenty a bar getting drunk while listening to some local musician live out a fantasy. I too am kind of a dick that love/hates everything.
I liked the recent Cohen Brothers flick. I’ve wanted to see it for a while. It killed at Cannes, features an indie folk atmosphere and is loaded with actors that I like: Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman to name a couple. I was going to wait a day or two to try to get the structure of the film wrapped around my head (I have to re-watch something just to get clear on a part) but fuck it, I’m here now. Might as well write.
The film features Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a struggling folk singer in Greenwich Village, trying to make a solo singing career for himself after the passing of his former partner Mike. While that is something Llewyn is trying to work out in his head,
the guy is still needs to make a living. He plays at bars, asks friends for cash and sings background on a thing or two).
Llewyn’s life is in a state of flux. The prevailing question is will Llewyn be able to make a music career and stop having to sleep on friend’s couches or floors.
The movie follows Llewyn through a rough patch in his life. I don’t know if Llewyn is misunderstood or just kind of a bad dude. He had/has a relationship with his friend Jim’s (Timberlake) girlfriend Jill (Mulligan) and got her pregnant
(and there were multiple other girls, evidently), he is kind of a douche with his sister and gets agitated very easily (it happens alot). We see him travel to Chicago with jazz musician Roland Turner (John Goodman) and beat poet Johnny Five (Garret Hedlund) to get shot down by a record producer.
And at times he is a drunken, envious mess full of contempt.
But he can sing.
I think that is a big part of the movie and/or the message of the flick. I don’t know much about the story of Dave Van Rock (who the movie is loosely based on) so I don’t know if he was the type of character Llewyn actually is, but it seems people excuse his actions because of the message in his voice (or maybe it is because the dude is grieving the loss of his friend and is acting out in a manner to try to find himself).
The thing I’m not too sure on is what the film is: Is there a message in what is on the screen? Is it a bio-pic? Is it just another folksy-tale from the Cohen brothers? I don’t know. I’m still grappling with it. It’s very good. I’m just not sure on what the payoff was.
Watch the movie. It’s funny, the music is good and the character Isaac portrays is interesting and amiable (which is why I think he can get away with what he gets away with). I’ll give it an 85 out of 100 for now (Rotten Tomatoes and Meta Critic both have it in the 90’s). I’m sure, if I watch it a couple more times I will fall in love with something – i just don’t know what.