The latest Coen brothers’ movie is one not-to miss. I’ll try to be brief on why it is so.
- Exhibit A : The Cast
Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Adam Driver and many more, the cast of Llewyn Davis is 5-star one. But let’s be honest here, Oscar Isaac is outshining everyone. He is brilliant in the part of that loser musician trying to navigate his way through the 60’s New York folk scene. Not only does he acts beautifully, he also plays guitar and sings with as much talent. Isaac manages to make us empathize and judge Llewyn at the same time. Sure his story is not all rainbows and sunshines and sure it is always hard to see someone struggle to make his dreams come true, but boy does he make some bad calls sometimes. Llewyn is a very human character, as human as it gets with his rights and wrongs, his hopes and dreams, and a big lot of bad calls.
- Exhibit B : The Soundtrack
If you like folk music just as much as you do, you’ll feel like in heaven. The songs are beautiful and beautifully served by Oscar’s beautiful voice. That’s a lot of ‘beautiful’ (oh! another one) but believe me when I say they are much deserved. The songs are hauntingly and mirror perfectly Llewyn’s hardships. Drawn from folk’s catalog they transport you right in the time and place. You travel as much with the images as you do with the songs. The movie opens with “Hang me, oh Hang me” from Dave Van Ronk whose posthumous memoir inspired the movie. From the very first note you are dragged into Llewyn’s universe and it is a dark, hopeless one. Spoiler alert : there’s not much amelioration.
I wouldn’t mind the hangin’, just laying in the grave so long. I’ve been all around the world.
- Exhibit C : The Cat
No I am not a crazy lady. There really is a cat in the movie and no, it is not an understudy. What would a Coen’s movie be without a little bit of humour ? That cat is the comic relief in Llewyn’s not so fun life.
From its first appearance, it makes the audience laughs and throughout the movie it sprinkles humour with its human-like expressions. At the same time it also embodies Davis’s worst choices and Jean’s (Carey Mulligan) predicament that everything Llewyn touches “turns into shit ” because he is like “King Midas’ idiot brother”. No, really if you are looking for the first cat to deserve an Oscar nod don’t look further.
A great cast, a great soundtrack, a brilliant Oscar Isaac and a wonderful cat, Inside Llewyn Davis is definitely on my 2013 top ten !