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INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS BY JOEL AND ETHAN COEN

year: 2013 rating: ****
Having reached the end of your rope, at least there’s not enough left for a noose… This could be the theme of the Coen Brother’s latest, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, about an unlucky early-1960's folk singer whose career isn’t exactly panning out...

The film begins with Llewyn waking up at someone else’s pad. As he exits the apartment, the owner’s orange tabby escapes and the day goes progressively downhill…

Davis with Tabby
Like a grungy coin rolled down the street, a hapless, bearded Davis visits the places and people making up (and shaking up) his dreary life: From the local tavern where he performs to a very special girl he accidentally knocked up, we exist through the eyes of a title character who isn’t particularly nice... In that, the Coens have created a new sort of unapologetic, selfish anti-hero. Thus the best moments involve Davis’s smug reactions to the world around him, surpassing the pivotal Kerouacian road trip with a motor-mouthed John Goodman, providing more of a break than a purpose.

Throughout this punctuating turmoil, set mostly in the cold New York/Greenwich Village wintertime, the one thing Llewyn can do is sing… Having lost his duo partner, he’s an un-discoverable solo act although his music, delivered beautifully by Oscar Issac himself, is heartfelt and world-weary, especially compared to an intentionally campy tune that will stick in your head longer than the good stuff. Perhaps this is intentional. If INSIDE has one purpose it’s to show a character with genuine talent, much too personal and private for the mainstream – an isolated curse befitting both the man and his music.
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