Monday, December 16, 2013

"Inside Llewyn Davis" - Film Review

Trailer: "Inside Llewyn Davis" - CBS Films


This is one of those movies that I can't review unless I go into why I didn't like it. So, yes, there will be extensive spoilers.

After seeing this, I wonder if the Coen's have been hanging out with Woody Allen. That's because "Inside Llewyn Davis" is as purposefully depressing as Allen's "Blue Jasmine." I give this movie one more star than the other, since the music is pretty good. But, that's the only reason.

Right from the outset, Llewyn Davis, the folk singer main character, is shown to be self destructive and depressed. We wonder why this is as the movie goes on. We do learn a key reason why that is, the sudden suicide of his singing partner. And, we can sympathize with that to an extent. But, apart from that, Davis gives us no reason to care any further. He does have to deal with a hyper angry girlfriend, who is only able to yell the same line at Davis again and again.

We are given little bits of hope for Davis here and there. Mainly in how he takes care of a cat that got out of an apartment where Davis was crashing. Davis loses the cat, and finds who he thinks is the right cat, but isn't. When he returns to the apartment with the wrong cat to where the original cat lived, we get one hilarious joke that had me really laughing. Davis leaves with that cat who wasn't the apartment dweller's.

But, that seemed to be a turning point in the movie, as the quirky, funny moments that came before stopped. From there, it got more and more dark and depressing.

When the Coen's have the scene where Davis leaves that wrong cat in a car along the road, it's as if the Coen's are telling the audience to go @#$% themselves. It's as if we are being made fun of for actually caring about Davis this whole time. We are shown that he really doesn't care about anyone but himself. So, why should we care? The end wraps this up, where Davis is playing on a night when the New York Times is in attendance. Davis performs passionately, for what seems like the first time. But, as it turns out, Bob Dylan follows Davis, on the historic night when Dylan received a positive review from the Times. So, we are led to believe that Dylan is the one discovered, while Davis is again left out in the cold.

I don't know if this film is supposed to be challenging somehow, or if it is just purposely depressing. My guess is that it is supposed to be depressing. I don't think that the Coen's really care about their audience in this circumstance. It is only that I saw the movie at a free preview that I'm not more agitated.

As for the rest of the movie, the music is good, but fairly low key. T. Bone Burnett, the man behind the music in films like "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," does well again here. But, the music isn't as memorable.

The cinematography in many recent Coen films has been by the great Roger Deakins. Here, it is by Bruno Delbonnel. It has heavily desaturated color, and is pretty diffused. So, it isn't at all attractive.

I would avoid this film until it is on disc or on cable. Paying $13 or whatever to see it is way too much. I am glad that my cost was $0. That seems like an appropriate amount.

**1/2 (2 1/2 Out of 5 Stars)

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