movie film review | chris tookey

Inside Llewyn Davis

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  Inside Llewyn Davis Review
Tookey's Rating
4 /10
Average Rating
8.63 /10
Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake
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Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Written by: Joel Coen

Released: 2013
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 105

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The Coens, with this film, are like people who fly all the way to Paris on vacation and then eat at McDonalds every night, because that's what they know. Why bother making the trip at all?
(Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle)
After yawning through one hour and 45 minutes of the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, I considered not writing a review. Writing a review requires me to invest more precious seconds in this dull, folk musical. Yes, the film will rack up awards and critics will love it, but Inside Llewyn Davis is more about the pretentiousness of filmmaking and less about its audience.... Inside Llewyn Davis is not a poorly made film. But no matter how much one tries to intellectualize, dramatize or emotionalize Inside Llewyn Davis — the film lacks entertainment value. Yes, the acting is good, there are a few well-written folky ditties performed by Isaac, Justin Timberlake plays a small role, John Goodman is perfect as always, but the flick is inaccessible. Inside Llewyn Davis will be another overhyped, award-winning film that the average moviegoer will never see or hear about beyond 2013.
(Clay Cane,
Is there really much interest in the beginnings of folk music among the movie-going public under 65 years old? And even with the audience packed with folk-loving, nostalgia-loving Greenwich Village proto-hippies, the Coen Brothers insist on alienating that core audience with disgraceful representations of all of the characters – especially Llewyn Davis... All the actors are fine and Issac plays this part without playing an intentional bastard. Llewyn is who he is. He has no redeeming traits. Not that I want him to volunteer at a soup kitchen, but he is a man not grateful or insightful about his attitude towards people.
(Victoria Alexander,
There’s no plot to the picture, just a series of loosely defined experiences with supporting characters and travel, while a throughline with a symbolic cat named Ulysses passes for stability in an otherwise rambling endeavor. While Isaac is satisfactory as the miserable man, it’s not a performance that inspires exhaustive reaction, leaving most of the heavy lifting to the colorful supporting cast... The rudderless ways of “Inside Llewyn Davis” grows wearying in the second half, with the Coens reluctant to pull the narrative together, allowing their wandering soul to command the direction of the picture. Quirk and harmony only take the feature so far, keeping the movie inert and repetitive as it meanders to a close, leaving behind a half-realized psychological profile and a bustling world of talent left unexplored.
(Brian Orndorf,
High-end entertainment for those of us with college degrees. But it is more than just jaded. Theirs is an instrumental disregard for real life as it happened, that can come off as shallow as it is hollow. I was thoroughly amused by ILD. But come on guys. It's clear you have a soft spot for that music at that time. Maybe step out from behind your slick trick of treating anything and everything to the same dark sense of humour and show us authentically what it is you specifically care about. Compare ILD to the seemingly less realistic but, in fact, much more historically grounded A Mighty Wind (2003). That mockumentary mocks the pre-Dylan folk scene and in so doing touches on what it was really all about. Parody must seriously study the real thing to make fun of it, after all. The Coens are far too cool for parody. Hey, they're too cool to seriously study any real thing.
(Dan Jardine, Cinemania)
The brothers have created a character who’s hard to love and a bit of a chore to invest in for an hour and 45 minutes. Like the old songs in his repertoire, he’s familiar, not new, but he quickly gets old and tiresome. And a series of internal contradictions. For a boy raised on the mean streets of Queens, Llewyn has few street smarts. Advice to folks new to the big city: When you step into an alley and a man in the darkness makes threatening remarks, don’t walk toward him.
(Richard Corliss, Time)
This blackly comic character study set in the hotbed of New York's early-60s folk scene fails because there's zero character development.
(David Edwards, Daily Mirror)
Echoes of past successes in creating the scary netherworld of the common unconscious fade as Llewyn Davis and the other characters in this movie fail to come alive.
(Ron Wilkinson, It's Just Movies)
Who is this movie for? Manic depressives who love folk music? Avoid this movie if the holiday season already upsets you. Well made and acted but relentlessly melancholy.
(Michelle Alexandria, Eclipse Magazine)
Llewyn springs full blown and neither changes nor reaches self-awareness. He's a poor face in the crowd whose story's seldom told, has its moments, but seems no more engrossing than most.
(Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews)
The Coens are trying to say what?
(Gerald Peary, Arts Fuse)
While I had concerns that Inside Llewyn Davis would incorporate the same kind of patronizing attitudes found to one degree or another in their entire body of work, I was shocked by the naked display of misanthropic joylessness that is qualitatively worse than anything they have done before. This is a dyspeptic hour and forty-five minutes of cringe-inducing “comedy” that makes you wonder why they bothered. When you take a period alive with musical innovations that were the first shoots of a spring thaw after a long McCarthyite winter and turn it into a desultory and venomous mockery of the period, you have to wonder what makes these characters tick... A joyless, misanthropic 105 minutes worth of "comedy" that rates as Coen brothers at their worst. How one can take such a marvelous period and turn it into a voyage into hell is an imponderable mystery to this critic.
(Louis Proyect,

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