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Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) Reviewed By Jay

United States, 21 August 2013


  • Genre: Movies
  • Runtime: 130 mins

Jay´s Review

The Coen brothers are geniuses (genii?) who knew there was a movie star lurking out there, tragically overlooked. Their Oscar-winning music arranger T-Bone Burnett ("O Brother, Where Art Thou?") was a sure-fire gold-plated winner. With numerous nominations and wins for this film at festivals in Europe, and the Gran Prix (Audience Award) at Cannes under their belt, it was time to bring this baby home. And what do they do with all this bounty? They consign Garrett Hedlund to a bit part as a chain-smoking driver! I was soooo looking forward to hearing this gifted guy sing again. But to me, HE is the one who is tragically overlooked. Aarghhh!

The story is a week in the life of a folk singer striving for a breakthrough in 1961 Greenwich Village, at a time when folk singing is in decline.

The cast:

  • * Oscar Isaac ("Won't Back Down") is the Coen brothers "discovery." This fellow has worked third-tier roles for years. If he is just learning to sing and play guitar, why do it with his eyes closed? I find it annoying!
  • * Carey Mulligan ("Never Let Me Go") is the lovely singer everyone wants (and gets!).
  • * John Goodman ("Trouble With the Curve") is a jazz musician who derides folk music while nurturing his own demons.
  • * Garrett Hedlund ("Country Strong") is totally, utterly wasted here. There must be more to this choice than I have seen. This talented singer/actor could easily have replaced any of the other singers in this cast!
  • * Justin Timberlake ("Runner Runner") is here for two songs and does them well. If only the rest of the film had such entertaining music.
  • * Stark Sands (Lots of TV) impressed me with his sweet ingenuous character. A Tony-nominated performer ("Kinky Boots" and "Journey's End"), he has been in musicals since high school.

This R-rated drama/musical has lots of profanity, discussions about abortions, adult language and an irritating "hero" who is adrift. T-Bone Burnett mounts the music with his usual verve and uncanny ear, but... sigh....

Oh well, the 60s are nicely re-imagined: the vintage cars, the S&H Green Stamps, the clothes and the furniture. See? I can find things that I like. Oh! ...and the cat!

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