LiveWire Review/Inside Llewyn Davis

LiveWire Film Critic Georgia Buckley reviews Inside Llewyn Davis

Set in 1961 in New York’s Greenwich Village, the Coen brother’s new bleak yet oddly funny film follows the story of folk musician Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) and his struggle to make it as a successful singer. Following the suicide of a fellow performer, Davis wallows in self-pity, as he drifts from sofa to sofa; existing solely to make the music he wants in the hope of eventually finding success. Yet he doesn’t seem to take responsibility for his life and continually makes poor choices, one of those resulting in a fling with his best friend Jim’s (Justin Timberlake) wife Jean (Carey Mulligan), who disappointedly announces she is pregnant, and it could be Llewyn’s child. We follow his attempts to make it as a folk singer, his many rejections and his journey to Chicago in hope of pursuing a music career.

Inside Llewyn Davis is the Coen Brother’s most recent film and they never fail to impress me. The brothers have created yet another cinematic masterpiece which is what we’ve come to expect from them. The music-loving Coen Brothers took their inspiration from the memoir of folk musician Dave Van Ronk (whom it is rumoured Llewyn Davis is vaguely based upon), they utilize the music really effectively which has resulted in an extraordinary soundtrack– it completely fitted with the ‘pre Bob Dylan’ folk music era. To begin the film we hear Davis’ full live performance of Hang me, Oh Hang me!  – another successful yet brave move by the Coen brothers which they felt was worth the risk as it would make the film appear more realistic and like you were actually seeing a live performance. This risqué move along with the genius soundtrack certainly paid off as the film has already received countless nominations for various aspects of sound within the film, including BAFTAs, Golden Globes and even an Oscar.

I enjoyed the Coen brother’s newest film however it may not appeal to masses of people. They have opted for this unique storyline with some strange yet quirky characters but the film does move quite slowly and I found it could be quite dull at times. I would recommend seeing this film if you are interested in either the Coen brothers previous works or in folk music or even if you are a fan of the actors. Although it might not be the most exciting film, it is still a fantastic piece of cinema with the soundtrack being one of it’s most impressive features in my opinion.

Inside Llewyn Davis (15) is  currently screening at Cornerhouse. Book your tickets and watch the trailer here.