Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Midas's Little Brother

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) - Coen
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OK. I won't call the Coens movies soulless anymore. They are immensely smart people/filmmakers who play by their own rules and no one elses. I still remember their Oscar acceptance speech for No Country for Old Men, "OK, we'll go back to our sandbox now." Inside Lewyn Davis is the only way they know how to show their tender side- by making their main character a total dick. Llewyn (Oscar Isaac) is a young proto-hipster folk singer from Queens, doing the rounds at clubs and coffee houses in Greenwich Village. The year is 1961 and the Village is not quite the boho it had become. He's an all around asshole, who's been couch-surfing at the mercy of ever shrinking pool of friends. His arrogance, bad manners are always testing people's patience. Llewyn is a talented singer but terrible at human relationships, even though he is a folk aka 'people's music' singer. Music industry people see through this and won't give him time of day and Llewyn himself is very aware of this predicament as well. Everything he touches turns into shit (according to his ex gal pal Jean, played by Carrey Mulligan) and his life's going in circles, literally.

There are plenty of chances the Coens turn the movie into corny redemption tale, especially with a cute cat and Llewyn's father in a home, but they don't. Llewyn starts as an asshole and remains one throughout. But at the same time you can't take your eyes off of him and chuckle at his misadventures. He is not a misunderstood genius nor mopey eternal teenager and his misery is his own making and no one else's. It's the first time I feel that Coens are not making fun of genre tropes nor doing grossly technical/verbal exercise. You still feel for the Llewyn. This might be my favorite Coen Bros movie.

1 comment:

  1. Liked your comments. Thought the real life fly on the wall trip was an honest experience. Big fan of Coen Bros and appreciated Inside Llewyn Davis.