New To Blu: Inside Llewyn Davis

When the most likable character in a movie that has John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and F. Murray Abraham in the cast is a cat, you know you’re in for a tough ride.

"This song is called I'm A Total
Douche Bag and No One Cares." 
Set in 1960’s Greenwich Village, the film follows a week in the life of struggling folk singer, Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac). Written and directed by the Coen Brothers, this film falls well short of their typical work. Simply put, there is just nothing to like about the title character. The film does a good enough job of capturing the look and feel of period but the character of Llewyn is crafted in a way that he seems to have no redeeming qualities to rally around as a viewer. Instead, he's just an annoying douche bag that does nothing but piss off and alienate everyone he comes in contact with. And not in a funny way.

When this movie first came out I was excited to see it. I love the Coen Brothers' brand of dark humor but this movie badly missed the mark for me. Maybe it would have helped if I liked folk music because there is certainly a lot of it in here. I kept watching and waiting for that moment in the film for something to turn and give an insight to Llewyn that could redeem him but it never happens. There are a few brief mentions about his past that I feel should have been explored but instead were ignored. It’s actually frustrating how many opportunities were wasted in this movie that could have saved it.
"Dude. Enough with the pussy
jokes already!" 

The biggest crime of the film isn’t even the fact that its protagonist is completely unlikeable, it’s that he is also very boring and by virtue of his behavior all the people around him end up much the same way. There is nobody to like, nothing to be learned and none of the usual dark comedy to be found.

If you want to see a Coen Brothers film, I highly recommend any one of their previous works instead of this. Inside Llewyn Davis, much like its title character, is better off being avoided.

-Brian Rohe