Inside Llewyn Davis: Folk singer with the blues

Directed and written by Ethan and Joel Coen (No Country for Old Men), the film centers around Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac, Drive), a struggling but proud folk singer in New York’s Greenwich Village.

In the harsh winter of 1961, we traipse after Davis during what is possibly the worst week of his life as he attempts to save his failing career. After the death of his duet partner Mike and poor sales from his solo record, Davis is left with little money and no home, and lives by crashing on couches of different friends and acquaintances.

Following O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the brothers’ second venture into folk music is an emotional piece that delves into the downfall of a great folk singer who never could earn that recognition and fame. Isaac envelops his character in a kind of muted misery—a depressed man who is haunted by his past and frustrated with the present— most deeply felt through his blank, welling gazes, and framed by grey, snow-soaked visuals; moments of ringing silences on trains, aching observations made by other characters as well as a orange cat. Other times, Davis is snarky, but never malicious, and strangely sincere in ways that makes him a likeable lead to follow.

The film may be a bummer at times, but there are laughs to be had throughout, thanks to the faultless lines filled with Coen-esque humor and memorable exchanges between the lead and supporting characters (look out for Carey Mulligan). Novelty song “Please Mr Kennedy” by Isaac, Justin Timberlake and a surprising Adam Driver also hits home with its catchy tune and quirky lyrics.

If you are a fan of the Coen brothers, this gem is one for your repertoire.

Inside Llewyn Davis is now showing at Shaw Theatres.

Official trailer of Inside Llewyn Davis