Inside Llewyn Davis

There’s wonderful music in this film — I knew from the first notes of guitar music opening the movie, that I was hooked.

This movie managed to keep me interested throughout. And there were many reasons it might have lost my interest. There’s not really a plot here, just several days in the life of a struggling musician in a long-gone New York. The characters — most of whom are unlikable — don’t change. It’s a very dark movie, too; just when you think there is hope for success, or when you try to find the redeeming quality of some of these characters — the movie throws that back in your face.

So there is no looking for a feel-good experience here. But I liked the movie anyway, because of the music.

Inside Llewyn Davis is a Coen brothers movie that follows the main character (played by Oscar Isaac in an outstanding performance) as he struggles to survive in a 1960s New York that is the scene for a renewal of acoustic folk music.  The setting feels real. The story is based loosely on the memoir of Dave van Ronk, and reflects a time when musicians lived day-to-day, with no safety net and little chance of success.

But the music is a character in itself. It feels real, too. The  musical director is T Bone Burnett, who also won a Grammy award for the soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou. All the music was recorded live by the actors, and it’s excellent. Oscar Isaac’s musical performance, in particular, is amazing.

More info on the movie at its website, here. Or at Rotten Tomatoes, here.