Oscar Isaac is Incredible! Coens Best Since 'Fargo' (by ClaytonDavis)
I am completely smitten. I have long admired Joel Coen and Ethan Coen and what they have offered the realm of cinema. I am in love with "Fargo" still until this day, and they've provided solid efforts on nearly every outing since. Their newest endeavor that focuses on the folk scene in 1961 is an absolute dream. Everything from the impeccable Oscar Isaac to the music that enriches the deepest trenches of the soul, "Inside Llewyn Davis" is one of the best pictures of the year, plain and simple. It's the Coen Brothers finest film since "Fargo." Our story <more>
begins with a folk singer, Llewyn Davis that has continued to pursue a music career in 1961 despite being penniless and lacking any real stability. Migrating from couch to couch, we get a deep look into a character with a dream that just won't die. As he fights for his chance to share his voice with the world, following an unexpected loss of his singing partner, Llewyn is hard to love. He makes poor choices and seems to lack any responsibility in his life. It's a wonderful creation of a character that offers insight into a changing time in our history. First of all, I can't get the amazing music out of my head. All the songs used are absolutely brilliant. Oscar Isaac's richly matured tone is so soothing and authentic; I'm surprised a music company hasn't nabbed him up to make a record yet. His opening and closing songs are his, as well as the film's, pivotal moments that encapsulate the endearing message and theme. "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me" and "Fare Thee Well Dink's Song " are astonishing records that may not just fall into an Oscar race but a Grammy wouldn't shock me in the least. It has the same magical effect as "Searching for Sugar Man," two films that seemed to capture the innocence and culture of a generation that seems lost. In terms of performance, Isaac is incredible. So raw and genuine, it's one of the year's finest performances by any actor. He has made himself one of the most exciting actors to watch in the coming years. This will lead him into more challenging and accessible roles. This guy could become one of our finest actors in just five years' time. This is something that should land him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. It's very much deserved. In their respective but short screen times, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, and Carey Mulligan are all infectious and notable. Goodman plays a character similar to his "Harling Mays" from Robert Zemeckis' "Flight" and makes the most out of his appearance. Mulligan is volatile and I loved every second of her. She brings lots of dark humor and fire to a role that shows the depth of her abilities as an actress who can perform impeccably in any genre. We even get her singing again which had me melt two years ago during her "New York, New York" in Steve McQueen's "Shame." Hedlund comes and goes but makes his mark as he often does. Justin Timberlake has made a seamless transition from musician to actor and back to musician. Great in roles like "The Social Network" where his star power doesn't distract from the story at hand, in a Coen Brothers film, where he sings in a very current pop way , he becomes a bit distracting. I was very aware that Timberlake, probably this generation's Michael Jackson, was sharing the screen. More than likely not his fault, it could be a case of being "too big" for your movie. One thing that the film has taught me we need to give Adam Driver more movie roles. Timberlake, Isaac, and Driver put their marks on one of the songs "Please Mr. Kennedy," and make it one of the year's most fun and remarkable numbers. Joel and Ethan Coen continue to show their ranges in directing and writing. Flawlessly executed in character understanding and keeping our story moving. Llewyn Davis is such a complex and interesting man and their screenplay gives Isaac room to breathe and explore the subtle nuances that make his character unique and real. As their alter ego Roderick Jaynes, the film moves like a smooth monorail, hitting all its marks and picking up new and exciting quirks along the way. An almost silver-green canvas evokes the dark and grey tones of the New York scene in 1961. Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel masterfully captures the ticks and beats of Isaac as he sings with heartbreaking emotion and walks through the frigid cold streets. Jess Gonchor's production design places us all in the folk scene, with intimate bar settings, old-time music studios, and even the classic feel of a Greenwich Village apartment building. CBS Films has a gem on their hands with "Inside Llewyn Davis." A sure- fire Oscar contender in several categories including Best Picture. If there's any justice in the film world, Oscar Isaac would firmly sit near the top of the finest performances of 2013 in Best Actor and nab nearly every award he comes in contact with. "Inside Llewyn Davis" is sensational and an instant classic to be remembered.
Another Great Coen Brothers Film (by dimoulas-466-176153)
Inside Llewyn Davis is a hard film to quantify. It is very much a Coen Brothers movie, and it is very much its own thing. I did not know the history of the story. I did not know the story behind the Gaslight club in New York nor did I know of the famous figure who started at the bar back in 1961 when the film takes place. I found out after the film was over. However, not knowing that, I still thought this was an incredible movie.There are oddly poetic scenes in the film. There is a scene where the main character Llewyn Davis hits a cat with his car. As he watches the cat limp away into the <more>
darkness injured, I felt that it was an interesting image that seemed to mirror Llewyn's life in the film. Although I was aware of the poetic aspect of the film, I did not feel that they were forced moments. In interviews the Coen Brothers always seem to play dumb. In an interview for this film the Coen Brothers talked about the cat in the movie, and how they didn't know what to do with the story, so they threw in a cat. Anybody who has seen a Coen Brothers movie can appreciate that this is far from the truth. Every moment and image seems to be very specifically placed, and that was the case for this movie as well.You can't judge this movie the same way you would judge every other film this year. It's almost as if the Coen Brothers have their own language that they are speaking, that the audience does not fully understand. We catch some things, and even with those few moments, I was mesmerized. Sometimes I really notice their style like in their film A Serious Man, and I find myself confused and bored, but this film felt very true to me. I sympathized with the main character and his struggles, perhaps because I consider myself a creative person as well, so I know how hard it is. At one point Llewyn says, "I'm just so f-ing tired," this line says a lot more than just I want to sleep. It is something we can all relate to, a feeling of just wanting to give up, and in this way, the story is a universal one, but then again it's the Coen Brothers, so automatically I know some people might not like it, but I loved it.
No doubt: Llewyn Davis is a loser. First, his career as a folk singer is going badly: his duet partner committed suicide, his record isn't selling, he makes so little that he cannot afford his own apartment but has to move from friend to friend, or rather from acquaintance to acquaintance. Secondly, as far as human relationships are concerned, he is a total failure. His ex girlfriend despises him, one of her predecessors faked an abortion to have him out of her and the mutual child's life people who are sympathetic to him, get a rather rude treatment on a daily basis. After A <more>
Serious Man, the Coen brothers have again chosen to depict a man on the wrong side of luck. Only this time, one might say he deserves it. Or maybe not, for he has one redeeming feature. The film opens with a long scene in which Davis Oscar Isaac performs a sad old folk song. The camera gently hovers around him, catches the hushed, intensely attentive atmosphere of the smoky basement club, while he sucks his audience us into the dark, sorrowful world he creates in his song, hinting at a depth he so often will not show in "real life". It is this contrast, the dialogue between the sadly funny tale of a modern Don Quixote and that other, older, tenderer story, the music tells. For as much as this is Llewyn's story, it also is that of the redeeming power of music. For even if Davis is the same at the end as the story comes full circle and returns to its opening, as he once again gets beaten up and is succeeded on stage by a young, cocky folk singer with a nasal voice who will soon change music and not just folk music forever, there is just the tiniest hint that this Llewyn Davis might have some sort of promise after all, maybe not as a successful singer, but as a human being. Inside Llewyn Davis is inspired loosely by the story of Dave van Ronk, a star of the Greenwich Village folk scene around the time of Bob Dylan's arrival there in 1961. Dylan learned a lot from van Ronk and stole some of his most promising songs, but that is a story to be told another day. This one is about a man lost in a world that hasn't been waiting for him, who has a mission that is entirely his own. The lengths to which he goes to show the world he doesn't care are astounding. And yet he craves love. Oscar Isaac is a miracle: even in his most repelling state, in his most rejecting attitude, there is a flicker of sad longing in his face, his eyes, a face the Coens show us much of. It is one you need to dive into, closed to the casual observer but hiding so much pain and uncertainty and desire to live one sometimes thinks it must explode. The Coens' cinema is one of subtlety, of nuanced, of shades of grey between the black and white. In Isaac, they have found their perfect actor, heading a stellar cast including Carey Mulligan, John Goodman and Justin Timberlake. As so often, the Coen brothers are masters at creating an atmosphere, a universe of its own, unique as well as absolutely consistent. It is a world of the night, in which grey shades reign, days are pale and dust is everywhere. Even in the open there is a sense of narrowness, of tight spaces, lightless basements that are cage and protective space in one. It is the tiny holes that provide the only rooms for creativity, for the soul to speak. And so it is that the dark world of the underground gradually regains some warmth and coziness, the dark becomes a zone of comfort, while everything else becomes cold and distant. Having said all this, Inside Llewyn Davis is first and foremost a comedy in the Coenesque sense of the term. It is a Quixotic tale full of quirky characters at time bordering on the fairy-tale like especially true for the sequence around Goodman's character, a trodden-down mixture of villain and clown that calls up associations of the expressionist nightmare world of their earlier film Barton Fink. The other foot of the film is firmly on the ground, in the existential struggle of a man the world won't welcome. But there is still that third element: music, that timeless realm of love and pain and suffering and hope. It is here the film is anchored, it is here this Don Quixote conquers his windmills, armed solely with his guitar. It is here it all comes together. Tragedy, comedy, fairy tale, social drama, held together by the softest of touches. Another Coen brothers masterpiece. What else could be expected?
Beautiful Cinematography, Captivating, Worth Seeing Again (by kgkacan)
Saw the prescreening at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, MI with average expectations, this is my reaction:This film is an experience, but not for any sort of superficial special effects, action or CGI. It's an experience in which you will feel fear, joy, hate, hope, sorrow and contempt all within an hour and 45 minutes that feels more like 15 minutes. We are sidelined, watching a short snippet of Llewyn's seemingly dismal life, drudge on by, yet we are drawn. We connect with Lleywn's anger and struggles, as if we too are burdened by his failures and challenges. But amongst the <more>
bad, there are moments of cheer, and laughter and peace reminding us that good still exists. What dominates is power, balanced by music, money and pride, yet this movie is better served as a reminder that life is an experience, and individualistic. We are reminded that more often than not, things do not fall into place and luck is rarely on our side. But no matter how many times people fail you, one should never fail, before one's self. This movie is an experience, it indirectly breaths life into each of our souls, and should appeal to anyone in touch with the most crucial human emotions: compassion and empathy. Hold on tight, because it is one experience that will remain with you long after the credits are through. Perfectly casted, perfectly scripted, perfectly filmed; perfectly entertaining.
Inside Llewyn Davis is an intimate, well-executed, and honest slice of life. It features a humanistic, heartfelt performance by Oscar Isaac as the titular folk singer, arresting cinematography, and a sharp, tight-fisted script by the Coen brothers, who also directed.It's Greenwich Village in the early sixties, when folk music was either coming into its own or ready to be usurped by a more mainstream genre. Llewyn has no home, drifting from gig to gig and crashing on couch after couch as a matter of design; is vagrancy is his life's plan. Llewyn is at turns a noble soul who exists for <more>
the sake of making the music he wants to make and a resentful twerp who mooches off friends just to sustain his unsustainable lifestyle.The movie is only somewhat linear, with closing scenes mirroring opening scenes, and it is told entirely from Llewyn's point of view. The Coen brothers masterfully show us not only Llewyn's perspective but also an outside perspective; this allows us to feel both empathy and loathing toward him.Llewyn is nothing if not complex. The movie does a terrific job of avoiding the usual clichés, such as a down-on-his-luck musician catching a lucky break, or a bitter man having a quick change of heart. It's not that Llewyn is constantly sneering at everyone, holding his poverty up as both a shield and a trophy, it's that he is so multilayered that when he does a kind act or offers some praise or thanks, we don't feel that his doing so is in any way out of character. Llewyn is a self-tortured soul, but unlike caricatures of wandering folkies, he is at his center a realist, albeit a prideful one.During his travels and travails, Llewyn encounters people ranging from the genuine his singing friends Jim and Jean, played by Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan to the absurd a rotund, blustery John Goodman . Oh, and a cat that travels with Llewyn - at least until he can get him or her back to the owner. The encounters with the genuine folks feel just as normal as if you or I encountered them; those with the more absurd of the lot feel perfectly surreal, and when they do end one almost wonders if we've all imagined the encounters through Llewyn himself.The music is beautiful and moving. Isaac himself performs Llewyn's songs, with a sweet, vulnerable voice that offers a touch of soul to Llewyn's otherwise-bleak surroundings. When Llewyn is really on, you can feel his pain leap right off the screen into your brain; when he appears to be going through the motions and not singing from his heart, you can feel the lack of depth that his intended audience also feels. Isaac is just flat-out terrific.Ultimately, it is Isaac and the music that push this film into the territory of great cinema. The story itself is stark, moody, unyielding - just like a New York City winter, really. And the movie, like Llewyn's own life, appears to have no point - except to illustrate just how pointless Llewyn is making his life, through his stubborn marriage to his craft and a desire to stay uprooted
There have been movies made about musicians, both real and imagined, from End of the Century through I'm Not There, taking in The Future is Unwritten and A Mighty Wind. We've had almost every conceivable approach, from straight-up documentary through imagined version of events as well as completely invented bands, singers, songs, and concerts. Yet, I don't think that anyone has ever managed to do what the Coen Brothers have produced with this tragic, comedic, touching piece.Which is to essentially transport you into the grooves of an LP, Inside Llewyn Davies, and bring you a <more>
beautifully realised portrayal of the eponymous hero as he trudges his weary way through the greys and greens of Greenwich Village in a cold New York. And it is so reminiscent of the experience of listening to your favourite vinyl album from track one, side one to the final track of side two, whilst curling up on the couch with a cat in your lap, listening to a selection of melodic, melancholic, traditional, and new folk music.The music binds this movie together and Oscar Issac inhabits the title role in a world-weary way that aches with ennui and longs for something never expressed. We follow his tramping travails through a range of vignettes that build subtly towards creating a quite compelling picture of the man behind the music. He sometimes does what we expect and at other junctures, veers off in a mad new direction. There is little explanation for any of the decisions that he does, or doesn't, take. He's searching without any clear idea of the quest.Along the way, we meet a wonderfully diverse bunch of supporting characters, from the biting Jean, acerbic tongue and acid looks, through the snoring bully Roland Turner and his valet Johnny Five, as well as Mitch and Lilian, the Upper West posh couple, but especially Ulysses, our hero's apparent companion over the week or was s/he? . They all offer opportunities to understand Davies' psyche slightly more, albeit admitting that not even he appears to be fully cognisant himself.It's a lovely looking film, beautifully shot and much more enjoyable that I would have believed possible from watching the trailer previously. T Bone Burnett has done a sterling job on the soundtrack, it's so affecting and the way that the songs are all allowed to play out saw the audience in the cinema in which I saw this mainly remaining seated through the end credits as well. Which brings me back to the vinyl album sensation. You don't pick up the needle when your favorite record is playing the final track, because you want to get on with something else instead. No. You let it run right to the end of the groove and then your heart fills with an equal mixture of pleasure and joy, sorrow and sighs, as the last bars fade to quiet and all that's gone before becomes a memory that's so strong and so addictive that you want to turn it over and put the needle back into the groove all over again.This movie is precisely like that sensation and I loved it, from first frame to last. A quiet understated tragi-comedy, dark in places, and shadowy in others, but with a humanity and a compassion that you cannot avert our gaze from. Hell, it's even got a coda of a scene to be dealing with, which at the end takes your mind back to the start of the production and forces one to reexamine what has just passed before your eyes. Recommended.
Greetings again from the darkness. If you are a follower of the filmmaking Coen Brothers, then you are quite aware of their complete lack of artistic interest in any traditionally successful character. Their work is inspired by life's obstacles and tough luck, even if brought on by a character's own poor judgment. Coen Brother stories revolve around those who carry on and have blind? faith that their approach, no matter how ill conceived, is the only option ... the only path worth taking. Their main character this time out seems to think life is filled with only careerists <more>
sell-outs or losers those who can't get a break . The titular Llewyn Davis played by Oscar Isaac is introduced to us onstage at the Gaslight singing a beautiful folk song. Moments later he is lying in the back alley after taking a whipping from a mysterious stranger. It's not until this scene is repeated again at the film's end do we understand the cause of this effect. See, Llewyn is not a very likable guy. We learn he is still grieving from the suicide of his musical partner as sung by Marcus Mumford , and that he bounces from sofa to sofa amongst acquaintances and family members. Llewyn has no friends, only acquaintances too kind to throw him out ... even if he might be the father of an unwanted baby, or if he accidentally allows a beloved pet cat to escape. The story is based in the folk music scene of 1961 Greenwich Village in the pre-Bob Dylan days. The Coen's were inspired by the memoirs of Dave Van Ronk entitled "The Mayor of MacDougal Street". So while the songs are real and the characters are often inspired or based upon real artists of the time, Llewyn's story is pure Coen fiction. That means cringing, levels of discomfort, uneasy chuckling and moments of rapture ... such as John Goodman evoking a drugged out Doc Promus spewing harsh poetic diatribes. We never really know if the Coens are making a statement or tossing it out for us to debate. Are they saying that even the ugliness of Llewyn's personality can produce something as beautiful as music, or are they saying that we get tricked by beautiful music into thinking that the artist must also be pure? Carey Mulligan as Jean has one of the film's best and most insightful lines when she tells Llewyn he is "King Midas' idiot brother". Her pure disgust and expert rendering of the F-word and anger contrasts with her angelic onstage persona with husband Jim Justin Timberlake . As always, the Coens provide us a constant flow of interesting and oddball characters. In addition to Goodman's jazz hipster, we get Garrett Hedlund as an ultra cool til he's not valet, Adam Driver as a cowboy folk singer, Troy Nelson as a virtuous Army folk singer based on Tom Paxton , and Llewyn's Upper East side cat owners, his spunky sister, and best of all F Murray Abraham as Bud Grossman, the owner of Chicago's Gate of Horn club. Based on the real Albert Grossman who discovered Peter, Paul and Mary, and managed Bob Dylan, Grossman is the lone witness to Llewyn's audition. This may be the most touching musical moment of the movie "The Death of Queen Jane" , but it's clearly the wrong song for the moment. Oscar Isaac is exceptional as Llewyn Davis. He captures that crisis of self that's necessary for an artist whose talent and passion is just out of step with societal changes. We feel his pain, but fail to understand the lack of caring he often displays towards others. We get how his need for money overrides his artistic integrity as he participates in the novelty song "Please Mr Kennedy". Why Isaac's performance is not garnering more Oscar chat is beyond my understanding. It's possibly due to the fact that the movie and his character are not readily accessible to the average movie goer. Some thought and consideration is required. If you are expecting a feel good nostalgic trip down the folk singer era of Greenwich Village, you will be shocked and disappointed. Instead, brace yourself for the trials of a talented musician who believes the music should be enough. Speaking of music, the immensely talented T Bone Burnett is the man behind the music and it's fascinating to note how he allows the songs to guide us through the story and keep us ever hopeful of better days. This is the Coen Brothers at their most refined and expert.
Once you let this film sink in, it turns out to be very rewarding (by estebangonzalez10)
"If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it's a folk song."The Coen brothers have worked together over the past couple of decades delivering some inspiring work. Their films are extremely varied ranging from dark comedies to westerns or thrillers and that is why people rank their films so differently according to their own genre preferences. What these films tend to have in common is that they focus on an unfortunate main character the Coen brothers don't seem to be too interested in successful characters and they also include a lot of quirky characters. The <more>
Coens are also great at writing interesting characters that despite being unpleasant at times still capture our attention, and they also include a lot of dark and sharp humor. Inside Llewyn Davis is one of those films where we are forced to follow an unpleasant guy in the course of a week and somehow hope he recovers and achieves his goal. This is a film that you probably enjoy more when you think about it once it's over or on a rewatch because it's philosophical and sad, but rewarding none the less if you stick through it. It is also open to many readings and interpretations. You can think of this as being an honest film about someone who doesn't achieve his dreams. We've been saturated with so many films that focus on following our dreams and never giving up on them, but it is rare to see a film focusing on someone who doesn't achieve them. Like Llewyn, we sometimes throw away other possibilities for success because we are too blinded on pursuing our own thing. That is exactly what happens here and in this way it differs from A Serious Man where the main character suffers misfortune from things that he can't control . Llewyn could've listened and taken good advice, but he's so narcissistic and blinded by his own ambition that he misses several good opportunities. Another way you can read this film, and this is the one that worked best for me, is that Llewyn is learning to cope with the loss of his partner. He was a better singer when he wasn't on his own and now that he has lost his partner he doesn't seem to know what to do next. He is a tortured artist struggling to cope with grief. It's as if the Coens were admitting that they wouldn't know how to make films without each other. They inspire one another and that is where their success relies. Perhaps if something would happen to one of them they would feel like Llewyn, lost and unable to move on. This is just brilliant filmmaking and the Coens prove once again that they are on top of their game.The film takes place in the course of one week as we follow a struggling folk singer named Llewyn Davis Oscar Isaacs across Greenwich Village in the winter of 1961. He has recently released a solo album that isn't selling. With no money and no apartment, Llewyn spends his days jumping from couch to couch at friends houses while performing small gigs at local Cafes. One of the places he crashes in is at fellow musicians, Jim Justin Timberlake and Jean's Carey Mulligan apartment. Llewyn isn't really a guy anyone wants to be around much, but he continues to pursue his dream of becoming a solo artist. In a way he's his own worst enemy as many of the obstacles he faces are his own doing. I'm not a fan of depressing films, but somehow the Coens captured my attention through their smart script and beautifully constructed film. The gray cinematography is gorgeous and really sets the melancholic tone of the film. Somehow despite not liking Llewyn, Isaacs manages to portray his character so well that we do root for him and want him to succeed. It's an impressive film that succeeds thanks to Isaacs heartfelt performance. We also get to meet some of the quirky characters that the Coens always include in their films. John Goodman and Garrett Hedlund were the chosen ones this time around and they both added the dark humor in this otherwise sad and melancholic film. The soundtrack is also a lot of fun to listen too and Isaacs has a great voice.
Cannes 2013: Interesting choice for "instagramic" iconography puts this Cohen picture among one of the most "mature" works. Oscar Issac is on the rise!! I've seen 4 films with him in the last 9 months! This guy's been busy and justly so - he adds a unique flavor due to his ethnicity to everything he touches! Great pace, sharp dialog as always and a real treat of having a cameo by "maestro Salieri himself" the great F. Murray Abraham. It definitely managed to impose a "melancholic disposition" in me after seeing it... I wonder how will it <more>
work with the "hipster" audience who seem to be crazy about the era story is set in.