starsky-score-85

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

by Not Friends Cinema Club

๐ƒ๐ˆ๐’๐‚๐‹๐€๐ˆ๐Œ๐„๐‘: A discussion into this filmโ€™s position and meaning is unfortunately a discussion that is host to spoilers. Whilst not explicit, one may argue the content analysed gives away too much. Apologies, and proceed with caution.โฃ

Dear Dylan,โฃ
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When I put ๐˜๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜“๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ธ๐˜บ๐˜ฏ ๐˜‹๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ด (๐Ÿธ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿท๐Ÿน) on for the first time, my initial thoughts during the first act were how indistinct the film was in comparison to other members of the Coen Brothers filmography. Being an addict of their bizarre and philosophical tales of long-lost-legends, I believed I was merely witnessing a cold and lonely tale of a struggling yet legitimate artist, with all the idiosyncrasies that define their body of work humbly blanketed. The second act served as a heat-check into just how narrow-minded I was, and once the film’s โ€œcircleโ€ was complete, I realised I might have just watched the most definitive work of โ€˜Coenismโ€™ to date.โฃ

โฃ๐˜๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜“๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ธ๐˜บ๐˜ฏ ๐˜‹๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ด is the story of Llewyn (Oscar Isaac), a talented and aspiring folk-musician with an equally impeccable talent as a magnet for bad luck. His attempts in asserting a name for himself are met with the same struggles and hardships youโ€™d expect from a legitimate artist whose transcended from the slums; stories and fables that are only told by the eccentric humanoid-aliens who invade popular culture. Llewyn embodies all that is folk music: the grit, the optimism, and the reliance on whims. Heโ€™s present on the folk scene in 1961, the year many artists refer to as a period where โ€œsomething great and crucial happened.โ€ The only issue? That great and crucial โ€œsomethingโ€ is not Llewyn. โฃ

๐˜๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜“๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ธ๐˜บ๐˜ฏ ๐˜‹๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ด seems like a film documenting the steppingstones of a soon-to-be artist living through his origin story, yet once it becomes apparent that weโ€™re enduring a rogue flashback, it also becomes apparent we are witnessing Llewynโ€™s conclusion. The film is not only host to all the most familiar Coen motifs (bizarre side-characters, dialogue repetition, blurred anti-heroes), but possibly the most dramatic portrayal of their utmost philosophy (similar to ๐˜‰๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ slowly descending into the lower chasms of hell; or the way decadence eventually prevails in ๐˜•๐˜ฐ ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜บ): ๐Ÿ๐š๐ข๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž.โฃ

โฃItโ€™s this story of failure that makes us understand our own unjustified trust in the system. Solemn as it may be, Llewynโ€™s absurd eventuation into just another โ€˜nobodyโ€™ is a reality check to the masses of the entitled. The unpleasant and unfortunate destiny of Llewyn directly opposes the desired story structures that have been built by Western cinema over decades of entertainment. The film is a fable of the near-miss, the almost-famous, calamity without retribution. In other words, itโ€™s not the story of success, but the unfortunate story of ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ.โฃ

๐˜๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜“๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ธ๐˜บ๐˜ฏ ๐˜‹๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ด teaches us that we may feel like the carpet has been ripped out from underneath us, but as we look down at our cold, wet and insecure feet, weโ€” like Llewynโ€” realise it was never really there. โฃ
โฃ
A dolorous ๐˜ฃ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ฐ to you, Joel and Ethan.โฃ
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Warm regards,โฃ
โฃ
M.