“If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it's a folk song.”
Inside Llewyn Davis
“If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it's a folk song.” This quote from the new Coen brothers written and directed drama, Inside Llewyn Davis, sums up not only the style of the film but the longevity of it as well. Some movies have a timeless nature about them. The characters, music, and cinematography flow through the ages. This is one such endeavor.
Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a young folk singer in 1961’s Greenwich Village. He has a great talent; sadly no one seems to notice. He is sold out to the purity of the genre and will sacrifice anything to make it. This film captures a week in his troubled, troubadour life. He has to deal with relationships, club owners, and naysayers yet the spirit of the film is as striking and at times uplifting as the music that engulfs it.
T-Bone Burnett as the executive music producer was a must for a project like this. His ability to produce songs and have them tell a story gives this movie wings. You can pop in the soundtrack and visualize each and every scene it was attached to. Burnett utilizes some current artists such as Marcus Mumford, Punch Brothers, Justin Timberlake, and Oscar Isaac. This is a movie about musicians so each note had to be authentic or the believability would go straight out the window.
This reminds me most of the Coen’s earlier hit O Brother, Where Art Thou?. That film too had a strong musical undertow that made it special. Also this one has some odd ball characters that give the drama almost a fairytale feel. It is a heavy movie but often made lighter by the dialogue. It peppers the film with solid acting by Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, and Justin Timberlake. Oscar Isaac delivers an award worthy performance in the acting and singing category. He not only captures the feel of the 60’s and the beatnik vibe, but when he opens his mouth to sing he conveys all the pain and sorrow of a man trying to find his place in life.
Inside Llewyn Davis is rated R for language including some sexual references. It is an adult film but not an offensive film. If you consider yourself an appreciator of music this is a must see. The soundtrack is a must own as well. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stacks of vinyl. The Coen brothers are a different breed but once you get into the groove of what they are saying you will find something special every time. If you are not a fan of their style of writing and directing, this one may frustrate you a bit. There are no tidy little bows or predictability. That in itself is music to the ears.
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