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Categories: Movie Reviews

Guest writer Samantha Ward reviews Inside Llewyn Davis…

I am a huge fan of the Coen Brothers and they carry on to mesmerise me with their films. Inside Llewyn Davis is the most recent release by the brothers and depicts the 1961 folk music scene. Both written, directed and edited by Joel and Ethan Coen, they tell the story of a struggling musician over a period of just a few but long and devastating days. The story unfolds with a series of unfortunate events for the main character Llewyn.

Hilarious, intense and sad. Llewyn’s best relationship in the entire film is with a cat, which also has its consequences. After his musical partner Mike, has committed suicide and his latest album ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ seems to be a flop, there seems to be many hurdles ahead of Llewyn and he cannot seem to get over them. Many of these however are brought upon himself and his naivety. He is letting people down left, right and centre and not managing to navigate his own life and future. The story has a round about way of discussing these issues and puts a big emphasis on the fact that Llewyn is stuck in a huge rut, going round in circles. The pace is slow and somewhat mundane however there is so much charm and beauty in the shots and the amazing soundtrack just takes you through on this long journey.

Bruno Delbonnel (Amélie) is a French cinematographer and did an amazing job in creating the style and colour palette for this film. The film is full of greys, murky green and brown tones. It lacks any symbol of vibrance and richness, which is perfect in depicting Llewyn’s status. He lacks money and a real home, he struggles to be independent, yet lives what seems a freeing life as he manages to get around his hurdles. There is also a filter used throughout the film that softens the image and even gives some what of a light glow and makes the image appear hazy. I feel this is his state of mind, he feels he is free with no responsibilities whilst everyone around him appears tied down. This turns him into a recluse and disconnects him from his family and friends. Music seems to be his only influence and drive to continue and pursue his music career.

The film is inspired by the autobiography of folk singer Dave Van Ronk and even features a young and unknown Bob Dylan. T Bone Burnett is the executive music producer and having toured in Bob Dylan’s band has definitely got the right musical skills and talent for the job and that is shown in the film’s soundtrack. The film also boasts a terrific cast with Carrie Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman all co-starring along side Oscar Isaac.

This is definitely the music genre film of the year and I highly recommend you watch it whilst it’s still in cinemas.

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Christabel Samuel is a writer, director and editor. Having graduated from University College London with a BA in English Literature and an MA in Film Studies she is now a self-taught filmmaker, writer and perpetual learner. She won funding in 2011 for Lust in Translation and has gone on to judge at the London Film Festival, been appointed Head of Film for The Book Magazine and is currently editor-in-chief for The Spread.

Posted on Mar 4, 2014

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