Brainflow Feed

That term first came to my mind when, as a child, I’d try to say “stream of consciousness” and end up with “brainflow.” It seems to fit here.

Welcome to the ramblings of my mind. (For now, they revolve mostly around films.)

Inside Llewyn Davis

Monday, January 6th, 2014 4:11 pm—Film

Inside Llewyn Davis (USA 2013, Drama/Music), Writer/Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

The Coen brothers don’t seem to feel bound by any particular genre, and that’s a lovely thing for their viewers. With Inside Llewyn Davis, the writer/director duo delivers a gem of a movie about New York’s 1960s folk music scene. Told in a pseudo-documentary style, the flick follows fictional Dylan-era singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) as he spends a week bopping from couch to floor to car, from New York to Chicago and back again, pursuing a career in music even as he becomes less enchanted with his calling—or at least with the lifestyle it entails.

Inside Llewyn Davis is told so skillfully and with such authority that you imagine Llewyn really was part of Bob Dylan’s scene. The film is grounded by a fabulous performance from Isaac, who nails the singing and guitar playing along with the acting. It also features an excellent soundtrack, produced by industry mogul T Bone Burnett.

As you would expect from looking in on a week in the life of a talented, vagabond musician, the film unveils a fascinating smattering of characters, human and otherwise, who cross Llewyn’s path. The supporting cast includes John Goodman, a scene-stealer as bluesman Roland Turner, and Isaac’s Drive (see the Drive review from September 2011) costar Carey Mulligan as songstress Jean, showing off the vocal chops she debuted in Shame (see the Shame review from January 2012).

Overall, Inside Llewyn Davis is an emotional arrangement rich with mood and atmosphere; watching it often feels more like dropping in at a club than taking in a movie. There isn’t always a clear direction, but each performance leaves you with the impulse to clap. And it’s all wrapped up in an interesting finale that perfectly ties the film to time and place.

This is a great picture. I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t wind up with more than a few nods, come Oscar season.

2 Responses

  1. Catherine Jensen

    Thanks Amanda; a nice musical start to the New Year, with a succinct and enticing review to enjoy! Looking forward to your insights and appreciation of all things filmic in 2014.

  2. amanda

    Thank you, Catherine. Happy New Year!

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