Friday, 24 January 2014

Review: Inside Llewyn Davis

World of Blackout Film Review

Inside Llewyn Davis Poster

Inside Llewyn Davis
Cert: 15 / 105 mins / Dir. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
WoB Rating: 5/7



I won't lie to you, the first time I saw the trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis was with Mrs Blackout, and afterward we looked at each other and I mouthed "what?". This happens more often than is good for anyone, but it's rare that repeat viewings of a trailer actually sell me a film. Nonetheless, by the time today's showing rolled around, I was quite looking forward to it, not least because I'd also heard an interview with the directorial brothers on 5Live, laying the pitch for the narrative and the themes, rather than just the setting. Oh yeah, The Themes. This film has The Themes. It doesn't beat you over the head with them per se, but you should be prepared to understand that you're seeing Llewyn Davis' version of events*1, not that you'll see any other.

The film's soundtrack and Oscar Isaac (responsible for a large percentage of that soundtrack) do the heavy lifting, thematically speaking. Most of the other characters are totems of the various facets of Davis' personality, since we only see them from his point of view, and they very rarely interact with one another. The narrative is needfully meandering, as again, it's essentially Davis telling the story, and it reflects his haphazard lifestyle.

Bruno Delbonnel's soft-focused camera lends the film a dream-like quality, tranquil and disconnected even in its more emotionally traumatic moments. Quiet, introspective and borderline hypnotic, I think this is how I'm supposed to feel about all Coen Bros films. I think I understood it*2; I think I enjoyed it. But I've been wrong on both counts in the past, so let's chalk it up quietly as a success*3.

Inside Llewyn Davis is as centered and driving as its eponymous character, and is a better film for it. I'm fairly confident I'll get more out of it on repeat viewings, but I'm happy to let it bed in for a while, first.



Is the trailer representative of the film?
Yeah, mostly.


Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
…I think I did.


Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Probably. Maybe. I don't really know.


Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
It's quite an 'intimate' film, so it wouldn't hurt to watch it at home.


Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Nah.


Will I watch it again?
I will.


Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There isn't.


And if I HAD to put a number on it…


And my question for YOU is…
Is F. Murray Abraham just, like, not ageing or something?



*1 You knew that anyway from the title though, right? Yeah. Good.
*2 Not withstanding the cinematic devices used to tell the story, I know nothing about 1960's folk music, other than the fact that there are 'real world' references in here that I didn't fully get; I just knew they were there.
*3 Me enjoying a Coen Bros film, I mean. Not the film. The film's a success irrespective of how much I get it, I know that much.

DISCLAIMERS:
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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