Friday, December 20, 2013

Movie Review: Inside Llewyn Davis

Oscar Isaac, John Goodman, Carey Mulligan

Inside Llewyn Davis is going to appeal to a specific set of people, most likely, although others may enjoy it too. Those that like folk singing will like this film, or those that like period films, as it takes place in 1961 Greenwich Village. The movie is directed by the Coen brothers (Ethan and Joel), and that is very obviously throughout the film as well.

The title character, Llewyn (Oscar Isaac) is a down-on-his-luck folk music performer. He performs regularly at a little club called the Gas Light, owned by a friend, and roams from couch to couch for sleeping arrangements, as he doesn't have his own place. One such couch is owned by Jean (Carey Mulligan), who lives with Jim (Justin Timberlake), and Jean has a problem: she's pregnant and there's a 50/50 chance it could be Llewyn's. Meanwhile, Llewyn has lost a cat owned by other friends, the Gorfeins, and must find him before he shows up to sleep on their couch again. Llewyn also has no money, and doesn't make much at the few gigs he can get; he has to be able to pay for Jean's abortion and maybe have enough to pay his sailor's union dues, too, if he wants to fall back on that as a career choice.

The acting in this film was great. Oscar Isaac is a relative unknown, but was in Drive, Robin Hood, and Sucker Punch recently, and he was good as the title character here. Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, and an almost unrecognizable Garrett Hedlund all have smaller roles, and Goodman's is the most memorable; he calls Llewyn "Elwyn" in most of their scenes.

Maybe see this movie. Before the ending, I was going to give it a Yes and 3.5/5 stars, but the ending is a little confusing, which I didn't like; it turns out (SPOILER) that the movie actually started at the end, and then worked its way back to that ending. I also found the film to be painstakingly slow in parts, but I enjoyed the music throughout and the plot, even though the tenuous threads that connect it mostly have to do with the cat that Llewyn loses. If you are fine with slow movies and have enjoyed Coen films in the past, then I'd recommend this movie; if you're more a fan of blockbusters or fast-paced films, you may want to skip it.

Inside Llewyn Davis is in theaters today, December 20th, and is rated R with a runtime of 105 minutes. 3 stars out of 5.

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