Self Film-Solation | Film 2 | Inside Llewyn Davis
Inside Llewyn Davis was a film I’d had on my radar for a while and I figured it was pretty far from Django Unchained so it was a good pick to do next.
On the surface this was everything I wanted from a film. A low key “slice of life” type affair with relatable characters, excellent script and great soundtrack. Don’t get me wrong, I love a massive blockbuster as much as anyone, but sometimes I also love a film like this. Just a nice book ended story to sink my teeth into.
I’ve made no secret on the pod in the past that I’m not a massive fan of overly long films. So, this is probably the first time in my life that a film’s length hasn’t been important to me.
I genuinely really enjoyed the film. That is no small part down to the Coen’s writing and direction. I have always found them a little hit and miss. I love the Big Lebowski but struggled with Burn After Reading. But with this one they really hit the nail on the head. The writing is so sharp and witty. No word is wasted. One thing I did love about this particular piece was the general feel of the colours and the world of the film, the mis en scene if you will (yeah alright C in A-level film studies). You could smell every cigarette and feel the chill of the wintery air. It really went a long way to immersing me in the film.
I also really liked the character of Llewyn Davis. He makes some questionable character decisions, but we’ll come on to that. He feels like a real person. He is relatable. Anyone who has felt that struggle of trying to fulfil a dream without compromising will know how tough it is, especially in the arts world. He’s not the most likeable protagonist but he’s certainly one we can relate to and understand. For me that’s down to two things. The genius of the Coen’s writing and the fantastic performance of Oscar Isaac. For a character that is in every scene and almost every shot, he does a brilliant job of giving us an understated and subtle performance that only makes Llewyn more real and thus his struggles are too. You really start to empathise with his role as Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill.
If I had a criticism of the film, it would probably be that the shorter running time leaves a little to be desired in some of the exposition. Like with much of the Coen’s films this is probably completely intentional, but for me personally I like a little more meat on the bone. I feel like that by missing out on exposition it lessens the blow of some of the more emotional beats of the film. For example, why does Jean (Carey Mulligan) hate Llewyn so much. It surely can’t be because he got her pregnant. Is there more to that story? I mean I understand this is set in the early sixties and things were a lot different in terms of equality, but still, as Llewyn says, it takes two to make a baby. I feel we could’ve done with seeing more of their relationship, especially with Carey Mulligan on fine form as Jean. Likewise, Llewyn finds out he may already have a child and its just never really touched upon, he passes the place he knows this child may be and choses to do nothing. Again, could we have seen more of this? I appreciate that we don’t want to be spoon fed as an audience but still, I want to know.
Overall, I really enjoyed the film and certainly recommend it to any fans of the Coens or even the era/music in general.
I may be going mad but, to finish, here are some genuine thoughts I wrote down whilst watching the film.
My god Oscar Isaac is handsome. Just so handsome.
And he was under used in Star Wars. Like really under used.
In fact, I wish he’d do more. Do more, Oscar.
Oh, Adam Driver is in this?
My god I can’t decide if Adam Driver is handsome or not. Not like that handsome devil Oscar Isaac.
Adam Driver is actually really good at comedy. There are moments in this, Black KKKlansman and Marriage Story where he really shows he’s funny. I mean just watch his SNL monologue.
Originally published on Tumblr on 21st March 2020