ByPhil M Payton, writer at
Phil M Payton

There are certain film makers who don't need much of a push for me to go and see their latest film. The Coen's are certainly in that bracket. Before i even saw the trailer it was already sold, sure there's a chance i won't like it as there is with everything. But it doesn't matter because if i didn't you know they're giving there all and that's something i can appreciate even if a film doesn't resonate with me. But so far i haven't com across that with the Coen's and 'Inside Llewyn Davis' is another to add to the list.

As the film starts it's clear there's going to be no silver lining and even more clear is Llewyn's ability to refuse to be happy. Where given a look into the entire feel of the film in the opening section, a dark, sepia and ever so slightly depressing bar. Written and directed by the two brothers this is a film of particulars and certainly there most niche film to date. It won't be for everyone with its de-saturated look and very melancholy tone but those who like it will love it. For all tense and purposes this a character study,'Llewyn' (Oscar Isaac) is a struggling folk musician - a self-destructive one at that. That's all you need to know this chronicles his struggles and what is an endless cycle of taking his frustrations out on his 'friends' and going back to them. The ending of the film could almost been seen as another beginning as we end more or less where we start.

The other players in Llewyn's story are interesting (particularly John Goodman's 'Roland Turner') and we almost feel like one of them the more and more we spend time with 'Llewyn'. He's not the most likable character, he's a man who doesn't like being screwed with and is cynical toward those who have progressed. He tries many times to undermine their achievements with jabs he's jealous, frustrated and tired. At one point he says "Folk music is shit" more of an attack at himself rather than the women he's heckling. It's a complicated film and despite all the miserable aspects it still manages ti instill some humour. But in such a way that belittles 'Llewyn' even more, he's a target for everything a play thing for the Coen's almost acting like puppet master mocking and laughing at his misfortune and it's great.

What makes this film that it is, is the look the cinematography is simply put - perfect. The muted colours, grey's and lack of any colour that cold be considered bright reinforces this dire dingy world 'Llewyn' is in. Most apparent in his drive with 'Roland' there's a distance and miserable look to the road and probably Llewyn's low point - seeing the side of success that 'Roland' has and what he does with it - i believe alarms him.

How this isn't up for 'Best Picture is beyond me. The Coen's have delivered yet another amazing film. It's probably their best, taking a look at a life of a self-destructive and drained folk musician who cannot catch a break. It's littered with their usual comic relief and in a way mirrors 'Jerry' from 'Fargo' - someone to poke and prod and make dance. Its sepia toned muted look reinforces everything this film strives for giving that extra push forward. Another film that in any other year from the last 15 or so years would have gotten in for Best Picture. This is further proof that in 2013 we had one of the best years ever for films.

A+, 9.5/10

Favourite Parts:

- There's nothing good that happens - a strange thing to say is a favourite but they follow-through on their idea fully.

- I didn't mention it in the review but fantastic soundtrack.

- The humour really piles on the misery of this cynical man.


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