It’s always interesting to be introduced to a great director through their latest film, and the Coen Brothers (arguably the most famous directing duo) recently gave us Inside Llewyn Davis, and I have a feeling that I know what the pitch went like. “Hey, we’d like to try making another Oscar contender.” “What’s the setup?” “It’s about a struggling songwriter who-” “Green light it.”
Oscar Isaac plays Llewyn Davis. (So, is this like Fantastic Voyage?) He used to be a part of a musical duo, but recently his partner killed himself and now Llewyn takes comfort in his music. After all, his family and friends (including Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake) don’t exactly help. And.. that’s basically the setup.
This is an interesting movie in the sense that, while I appreciate what it’s trying to do and I get a sense of the effort that was put into it, I don’t find the film itself particularly engaging. The film felt much longer than it was, and I didn’t think that the story was that interesting. I guess that maybe it might be more interesting to someone more familiar with Folk/Country music, but I’m sorry. Pop/Broadway’s more my style.
The performances are all pretty good. The ones that come to mind are Isaac, Mulligan, and a brief cameo from John Goodman. However, I don’t think that any of them are really strong enough to be nominated. (Which isn’t really their fault. This is a strong year.)
“Please Mr. Kennedy” is a fun song, I guess. But I don’t see what’s so special about it. In fact the only thing that I actually want to nominate it for is the cinematography, which is pretty neat. Everything else is done well enough, but I don’t see anything in this movie that screams ‘Oscar Winner’. And that’s a good way to describe the movie. It’s decent, but one of the best films of the year? I don’t think so.
—WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS—
I don’t know if it was just me, but my interpretation was that the Llewyn Davis character was suicidal. I mean, he sings a song at the beginning and end called ‘Hang Me’, and at one point when he tells an agent that he had a partner, the agent says “Well, maybe you two should get back together.” Even though Llewyn knows that his partner is dead, he doesn’t correct the agent; instead he says “Yeah, that’s some good advice.” Also, everything in his life basically sucks. I was seriously expecting him to kill himself at the end, but he doesn’t, and I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be implied that he killed himself soon after or something. I actually think the movie might have been more meaningful if we saw what all of his suffering had led to, but maybe that’s just me.
Oh, and Merry Christmas!