INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS // Every year, I feel like we get at least one truly phenomenal music-based film, and the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” is that one. The music throughout the film is performed by the actors themselves, and comes from Oscar winner T Bone Burnett collaborating with Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons. Catching you with folk ballads like “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me” and “Fare The Well”, every song in this film made this folk skeptic a bonafide fan. Set in the 60’s in Grennwich Village, Oscar Isaac plays lead Llewyn Davis, the epitome of a struggling musician, moving from friend’s couch to friend’s couch, playing any venue that will have him, in search of the musician’s American dream. The problems that Llewyn faces, besides being the unlikable protagonist in a Coen Brothers film, are a changing musical dynamic in New York, where even his amazing voice is not what deems popular, the harsh winter of New York as he walks from apartment to manager’s office to venue, and a pregnant Carey Mulligan, who couldn’t be more vocal about hating his guts. Teaming with Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund, and John Goodman, Oscar Isaac produces one of the most memorable performances of the year. What is absolutely unforgettable about “Inside Llewyn Davis” is Bruno Delbonnel’s breathtaking cinematography, which fades a yellowish blue hue that adds a richness to every frame of the film. The Coen Brothers latest is captivating from beginning to end, with the touch and feel of their particular brand of drama and dialogue, mixed with full on performances of a majority of the soundtrack. With Oscar season just around the corner, “Inside Llewyn Davis” will definitely be garnering some attention and will be landing as one of my favorite films of the year.
[Directed by The Coen Brothers] [R] [105 min] [20 December 2013]