When I was typing notes to myself about this movie, my phone thought that I meant “Kleenex” instead of “Llewyn.” Coen Bros., if somehow the stars align and pigs fly and I actually enjoy eating olives and you wind up reading this, I think you should know that iOS is not compatible with the titular character’s name. There’s poetry in that, somewhere. (And product placement.)
I loved Inside Llewyn Davis. I don’t think everyone will, and I don’t think everyone who generally loves Coen Brothers’ movies will, either. It’s dark, visually-speaking. Ethan and Joel went a little overboard with the Sutro filter on their Instagram, for lack of a more accurate term. It was actually quite difficult to see some of the scenes and facial expressions, and maybe that was the point, maybe obscurity was supposed to hang over this entire film, but I still wish it would have been a bit lighter. That, and the slightly unnecessary use of John Goodman, are the only two complaints I have. (John Goodman has played the Wise Morgan Freeman Role in plently of Co-Bros movies thus far. This time he was coked up. It was like he was doing his own impression of Jeffrey Lebowski.)
But really, I loved it. Oscar Isaac (who looks like Jake Johnson from certain angles!) is a completely mesmerizing performer, one who doesn’t have the overwhelming screen or stage presence of, say, Justin Timberlake, but one who wows with his talent and his pathos. Llewyn is a complicated man, a deeply self-pitying one, and one best played by a guy who hasn’t made it big yet. I don’t know if this movie will take Isaac to the next level in stardom, but it certainly showed how dark he can get. And oh, can he sing! The album soundtrack is downloading from iTunes as I write this, and I’m already excited to listen to it again even though I just saw the movie today. Isaac’s voice is crystal clear; he sings folk music with slightly more professionalism and note-hitting ability than you might expect from someone in that genre, but that talent doesn’t necessarily detract from the pathos in each of the songs he sings. They’re emotionally destructive, and you believe his sadness because you can see it when he finishes performing and walks back into obscurity at the bar.
I also really enjoyed the turns from Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver. Those two, along with Isaac, sang one song in particular that was dreadfully funny; the three starving-ish musicians recorded a farce about Kennedy, and good lord, if I could watch Adam Driver hit comically low notes on a loop, I would. The internet should be able to help with that. This movie also seems to mark JT’s foray into acoustic music; just yesterday, he performed