Film Review: Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis is a thoroughly enjoyable film. Joel and Ethan Coen’s latest is bursting with dry humour.

Llewyn Davis is a folk singer gigging in New York of the early 1960s. Llewyn is struggling to make a living through music, whilst his living arrangements cause other problems…

Inside Llewyn Davis is an entertaining and engaging film. Focusing on a week in the life of the title character, the films throws up interesting if quirky incidents whilst also illustrating the drawbacks of such a lifestyle.

The Coen brothers’ film works because of its central character. Llewyn is not a bright spark but an almost melancholy figure drifting out of others’ lives. This is nicely juxtaposed with some real personalities among the secondary characters.

The narrative progresses at a steady but laconic pace. The first two thirds of Inside Llewyn Davis are stronger than the third, but even this is very watchable. The dry humour is regular and successful. The comedy acts almost as a guise to obscure what is quite a sad tale.

Inside Llewyn Davis functions almost like a musical, with a number of in-action performances. The folk songs are a beautiful accompaniment to imagery. The film has the look and feel of early 1960s thanks to costumes and styling.

Oscar Isaac is great as Llewyn, but it is the supporting cast who are scene stealers. John Goodman and Garrett Hedlund amuse greatly in their scenes, while Carey Mulligan tackles the perpetually annoyed Jean. Robin Bartlett is also fantastic in her scenes.

Inside Llewyn Davis has the style of the Coen brothers stamped all over it, although it will be enjoyed by a far wider audience than just devotees of the filmmakers.

Inside Llewyn Davis is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2013.