2013 / Director. Joel & Ethan Coen.
Review by Glenn Cochrane
You can never underestimate the Coen brothers and just when you think that they couldn't possibly outdo themselves they make a film like INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS. When the credits rolled on this wonderful movie I immediately started processing their work in my mind and tried to put them into a preferential order. It's almost impossible to do but I definitely think that INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS fits into their top five. It tells the story of Llewyn Davis, a down on his luck folk singer in 1960's New York. Living from sofa-to-sofa and struggling to earn a living from his music we follow him as he tries to find his place in the world. That is essentially all that the film encompasses in terms of narrative... it's one man, the people he knows, and the cat he has inadvertently adopted. Once again the Coen brothers have crafted a film that is much more an expression than it is a story. It's transcending and it completely charmed me with its beautiful design and use of music. From the opening scene to the closing moments, I was in a very comfortable place and didn't want to leave. Oscar Isaac is brilliant in the lead as a musician who struggles to be taken seriously and desperately yearns for credibility and as usual the Coen's have surrounded him with a solid supporting cast including John Goodman, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake. And boy can these guys write a script... they spent years developing this film from a very simple concept to a fully realised exploration of one man's day to day life. It is packed with immaculate detail and littered with nuances. From drab, cold colour schemes to the evenly spaced musical interludes... and as a direct example of their brilliance, the performance they wrangle from the cat in this film is amazing. The cat deserves second billing on the poster... ah Coens, I heart you so much. We all have our favourite Coen Brothers movies and we could argue which is their best until we're blue in the face. It's very much a personal thing and my favourite is FARGO... but then I chop and change my mind with their other films. Do I like THE BIG LABOWSKI more than MILLERS CROSSING? And is BLOOD SIMPLE better than NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN? I just don't know... but what I DO know is that INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS has earned a permanent place on the mantle. It just might be their next best thing to FARGO. Fantastic.