Monday, January 6, 2014

"Inside Llewyn Davis" - I Just Don't Get It!

Story: "Inside Llewyn Davis" Wins Big with National Society of Film Critics - Variety

"Inside Llewyn Davis" just won five awards from the National Society of Film Critics. Those are major awards, as they come from a consensus of America's film critics.

I know lots of people like, and even love "Inside Llewyn Davis." But, I just don't get it. To me, the new Coen Brothers' film seems purposefully unpleasant. It's as if the Coens are challenging the audience to like characters that are almost impossible to like.

Popular actors come and go on screen in what amount to cameos. Some like Garret Hedlund, star of "On the Road" and "Tron: Legacy" is one of those on screen a short time. And, in his case, he barely says a line or two.

The music is said to be a highlight, but I thought the music was pretty sleepy. Renowned music supervisor T. Bone Burnett has certainly done better work with The Coens in previous films.

One major problem I had with the film was the cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel. He has said that his inspiration was the cover of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," which wa Dylan's second album, and the one that brought him to public acclaim. I have a vinyl copy of that album. And, I personally don't see the resemblance between the cover photo on the album and Delbonnel's cinematography.

The film has very desaturated color to the point that the visuals are muddy. There is also quite a bit of diffusion used. Neither are the case with the Dylan album cover. The colors are rather basic as it has a snapshot quality, and the subjects are in shadow. That is why the colors aren't as vibrant. But, otherwise, I again don't get it.

I have a theory about the success of "Inside Llewyn Davis." It is interesting that people who really like the film still call it challenging and even depressing. I call these kinds of films "Critic Bait." They are almost designed to test critics to see how much praise they can give it. I think that critics see so many bad movies, that they are almost beside themselves when something different comes along. And, this movie is certainly that!

That is really the only reason I can think of why this film is as popular as it is. Now, it is good that people have found a movie that they really like! I certainly can't begrudge them something they enjoy.

But, I just plain don't get it!

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