A Dissenting View on Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis–D

The main reason I saw this film is that it’s a Coen Brothers movie–and I nearly always love their films–whether they are comedies or dramas. Rarely have I been disappointed in their pictures and some of them are brilliant (particularly the underrated Hudsucker Proxy and Oh, Brother Where Art Thou).  However, Inside Llewyn Davis was, for me, a completely boring film with very little to recommend it.  It was simply a chore to watch from start to finish and I have no idea why the film has received so much praise.  If I hadn’t known it was a Coen film, I never would have guessed it aside from having John Goodman in an odd little role as well as a reference to Ulysses—two repeated Coen Brothers trademarks.

Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a struggling fictional folk singer. Not only is he only moderately talented, he’s pretty much a bum–living off others and hoping they’ll let him sleep on their couch for a day or two. Now had he been was a nice or likable person, this could be forgiven. But, unfortunately, he’s a rather foul-mouthed guy for the early 1960s and there isn’t a lot to like or admire—he’s mostly self-absorbed and lives for his music. This film takes place during a week in his life where not a lot happens. He sings, goes on an abortive road trip and ends up back in New York.  And to me, this ALL sums up why I didn’t like the film–Llewyn is a jerk and nothing of consequence happens in the movie….end of story. I just didn’t like what I saw inside Llewyn Davis!  I kept hoping SOMETHING would happen to make it all worth watching but no such luck.  And, I kept hoping that the critics were right about this one.
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On the positive side, Oscar Isaac’s acting was good as the title character. And,….well, I guess that’s all there is on the positive side. I rarely have seen a movie so praised by critics that left me this dissatisfied. In this sense, I’d place it among films like Tree of Life and The English Patient—critically adored films that the public never liked. See the film if you want–just don’t be surprised if there just isn’t much to enjoy in this one.  This is a picture that reminds me of the old story of the emperor’s new clothes—everybody is praising and adoring his clothes yet, oddly, I am the one who just feels that the emperor, like this movie, is naked—and devoid of much entertainment value.  It’s out on DVD starting today…think twice before you spend your hard-earned money on it.

Article by Lead Entertainment Writer and Film Critic, Martin Hafer