INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS | REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

Kernel Andrew reviewed this superb film back in January, but this Wednesday 28th May, the lovely people at ROADSHOW ENTERTAINMENT are releasing it so you can own or rent it on DVD, BLU RAY & DIGITAL. It is a muso’s dream film and a very artistic look at the life of a struggling muso. Thanks to our friends at Roadshow we are giving you the chance to win one of five copies of INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS on BLU RAY. Epic prize!! Find out how to win after Kernel Andrew’s fine review. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is rated MA15+ and runs for 104mins. All the best…………..JK

 

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS BLU RAY COVER IMAGE
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | BLU RAY COVER

 

REVIEW BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

I loved the movie! Thanks for the tickets. Coen brothers movies are great because they don’t jam the message down your throat, things just happen haha. I took the message to be… if you’re chose this kind of life, you’re going to struggle. ………..Salty Popcorn winner.

Is it just me or are every one of the Coen brothers movies take on the qualities of Homeric myth? Indeed most of their movies for me sit in that strange mystical realm of the tall tale. Although coated with the veneer of the “normal” and “everyday,” underneath lays a layer of the grand and majestic. Safe to say I am a very big fan. Words and myth are important to me and I suspect they are to the Coens as well.

“Inside Llewyn Davis” their latest is no different. The story is centred on the Greenwich Village folk-music scene of the very early 60’s (60 or 61 I am not too sure). This legendary period of time saw the rise of many important artists, most importantly for me Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. A period of time known not only for music but also for the hip beatnik and artistic creative fires that would soon fan the flames of social change throughout the rest of that decade. It is amongst this back drop that we meet our protagonist (a real Caulfieldesque anti-hero archetype). A man so frustrating in his inadequacies, that although you cringe at him time and time again you can’t help but like him. This is our anti-hero Llewyn Davis (played superbly by one of my favourite actors at the moment Oscar Isaac).

 

Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Inside Llewyn Davis, Inside Llewyn Davis Giveaway, Competition, Giveaway, Hoyts Cinema, Hoyts Cinemas, Cinema Paris, Joel Coen, Ethan Coe, art house cinema
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Davis is a head strong, fool hardy, intellectually arrogant New York-based folk singer. With this heady combo it is no wonder that he is struggling. The sad part of this whole tale is that the man is incredibly talented, his songs are genuinely brilliant. If only he would stop himself from his own self sabotaging path in life. Indeed his career up to this point and indeed throughout the movie is a series of meandering pointless mishaps. Time and time again he is given the opportunity to “become” a success. But he always rationalises it away somehow, his commitment to self-sabotage is truly awe inspiring at times.

This personal journey is reinforced by a back story where we learn that at one point Davis’s future was bright. Davis once worked with a partner, the almost mythical figure spoken about throughout the movie. His former writing partner Mike Timlin. This trajectory changed downward after Timlin’s suicide off the George Washington Bridge. It is like an awful milestone in Davis’s life that he has never really moved past. A moment that his whole life now orbits. It is to the Coen’s and Isaac’s credit that this meandering, mostly prosaic, circular aimlessness (pointlessness?) mimics Llewyn’s life. In fact the name of the movie should give us the viewer a real clue.

 

Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Inside Llewyn Davis, Inside Llewyn Davis Giveaway, Competition, Giveaway, Hoyts Cinema, Hoyts Cinemas, Cinema Paris, Joel Coen, Ethan Coe, art house cinema
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Davis’s life gravitates from friends couch to friends couch as he tries to eek out a living doing the only thing he believes he has been put on this Earth to do. The first of his friends, a middle-aged academic couple Mitch and Lillian Gorfeins (Ethan Phillips and Robin Bartlett), believe in his talent. Although they only really have two scenes in the movie they are pivotal. The first becomes an emotion fueled scene when Llewyn is asked to play a song written by Mike and himself. Lillian attempts to sing “Mike’s” part with tragic consequences. The next close to the end of the movie has Llewyn sincerely apologetic for his previous outburst.

Even in this the Coen’s reinforce the cyclical nature of his life.  Even his friendships follow a tragic orbit. There is also the hilarious scenes close to the beginning where the Gorfein’s cat Ulysses (getting the drift now) escapes and Llewyn is forced to schlep him around with him, on trains, to people’s houses. Even this relationship revolves around the circular narrative of feeding the cat and chasing the little escape artist. Some beautiful camera work accompanies the cat on his adventures, truly skillful craftsmanship.

 

Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Inside Llewyn Davis, Inside Llewyn Davis Giveaway, Competition, Giveaway, Hoyts Cinema, Hoyts Cinemas, Cinema Paris, Joel Coen, Ethan Coe, art house cinema
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

The other of Davis’s friends are the married couple Jean and Jim (Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake respectively). They are also folk musicians; in fact it seems that they may be on their way to success, something that our protagonist resents. A very funny scene in the movie has Llewyn working on a song written by Jim called “Please Mr Kennedy,” a kind of saccharine bit of schmaltz which Llewyn grudgingly plays on as he is completely skint.  This could be another moment for success as we learn the song becomes popular but even here Llewyn manages just to miss out. Jean barely tolerates Llewyn. At some point the two rashly slept with each other and it seems Jean is pregnant. This adds to the tension and the palpable anger between the two. Isaac and Mulligan play this perfectly, it is at times both poignant and hilarious to watch the exchange.

With his world falling apart and his panic deepening  Davis decides to hitch a ride to Chicago in the hopes of auditioning for Bud Grossman (F. Murray Abraham).  An ok from Mr Grossman would kick start his career. On the trip there we meet the two strangest characters (caricatures) of the piece.  The first is an insufferable bore of a jazz musician (the regular Coen go to man, John Goodman), the other a cooly quiet and taciturn driver (Garrett Hedlund). Both seem to barely tolerate Llewyn’s presence in their car. Goodman renders another Coen character gem in his rendition of this character. He adds a depth and texture to what could have essentially been a bit part. The journey in itself is important. It really is like an ancient mythical heroes quest. It is shot beautifully and paced perfectly. Moments during the cold foggy night take on an almost mythical quality perfect for the narrative. In fact the whole movie is encapsulated in microcosm in the confines of the car. The trip is fruitless and the cycle begins again.

 

Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Inside Llewyn Davis, Inside Llewyn Davis Giveaway, Competition, Giveaway, Hoyts Cinema, Hoyts Cinemas, Cinema Paris, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, art house cinema
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Towards the end of the film as Davis leaves the stage of another gig at NY’s legendary Gaslight another performer takes the stage. We see the instantly recognisable features and stance of a young Bob Dylan, singing his song “Farewell”. This final nail in the coffin of our hapless hero adds a full stop to the tale. Now that Dylan has come on the scene, Davis has been definitively pushed out of it. Outside he has a confrontation with a man whose wife he heckled at the club the night before. This is the final blow so to speak.  Now Davis has been psychologically and physically punched to the ground. The one two sucker punch – first Dylan and then the hapless performer’s husband. It is the ultimate Coen irony done to perfection.

The Coen’s have created another masterpiece

 

KERNEL ANDREW’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

KERNEL DARA’S POP SCORE:

3 and a Half Pops

 

With special thanks to ROADSHOW ENTERTAINMENT to win one of the 5x copies of the BLU RAY of INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to answer the following question.

Firstly, just an FYI on how to increase chances of winning a salty comp; commenting on the review generally holds you in better stead of winning as opposed to just comp sexing :)

WHAT IS THE BEST FILM SET IN NEW YORK OF ALL TIME AND WHY? 

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then get with the times old timer haha – You can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jkdigitaldesigns@gmail.com telling me you don’t have social media 

Prizes will be awarded based on skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.

The prizes will be sent in the next week or two. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.