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Inside Llewyn Davis 2013 R CC

(610) IMDb 7.4/10
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An aspiring singer-songwriter navigates the 1960s folk-music scene in New York City's Greenwich Village.

Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan
1 hour, 45 minutes

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282 of 303 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Graf on January 20, 2014
Format: Blu-ray
(This review is for the theatrical release.)

I've read a lot of commentary about Inside Llewyn Davis failing to deliver a pay-off. Oddly, this was one of the aspects of the film I enjoyed the most. It is devoid of the glamour and artifice of an uplifting underdog story; Llewyn's story begins and ends in the same alley, no redemption found, his only prize the blood on his lips. Throughout the film, there were many moments I found myself wishing Llewyn would just say, or just do, this instead of that, find a way to overcome his weaknesses and flaws. But he always says, or does, exactly as Llewyn would do.

This is what I find so refreshing about the film, the screenplay driving it and the performances delivering it. The characters on-screen act with the same perplexing unpredictability as we all do. They never know just what to say to each other. They talk at each other rather than to each other. They are weak, and often unlikeable, and often uncomfortably vulnerable. Our expectations as an audience, sculpted by decades of formulaic Joseph Campbell-driven story arcs, are of no consequence here.

I think our desire for packages with bows on them stems from our yearning for life to follow suit. But it doesn't, does it? We are all little islands of feeling trying desperately and confusedly to express some sort of identity and to find a voice that will connect us to others.

I think it is essential to the film that we don't know the details of Llewyn's story. His relationship with Jean, his estrangement from his father, the loss of his musical partner; these things are vague hints, and as such, we can't take sides. We can't make Llewyn a hero or a villain. And so we must perceive him only as a man.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ohio Reader on March 30, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
It surely took me back to The Day. This movie, with its mostly dingy sets and costumes really did recapture the seedy, competitive, mellow, unique, early days of the folk revival where gentle fingerpicked guitar accompaniments nestled around lovely songs, both ancient and newly composed. There was probably some wisdom in underplaying the lead character claimed to be based on well-known singer Dave Van Ronk who I remember as having a more raucous, abrasive persona than appears in this movie. Llewyn Davis is, instead, an ordinary, mostly likeable, forgivably flawed, everysinger, anykid who ever practiced his guitar and his singing seriously enough to develop a halfway competent sound that stood out enough from the ordinary to earn set time on a spotlighted coffeehouse stool, but never developed the originality, star quality, and discipline required to actually function in that cruel, nefarious business that masqueraded as an uneasy amalgam of homey kitchen and antiques mall. That most songs are performed in their entirety throughout the movie is a delight and will result in hefty album sales, though maybe not quite as profitable as the music of "O Brother Where Art Thou" which appeals to a wider audience. Llewyn's rootless, penurious lifestyle so captures the actual situation of many of the young singers who managed to survive just short of starvation and homelessness while they waited (mostly in vain) to Happen in New York and, yes, even in lesser cities. The vulnerability of these young people to exploitation and abuse portrayed in the movie is true to life as is Llewyn's willingness to risk repeated betrayal and frustration in his quest for the featured spot. Once I got over not recognizing Dave Van Roink in Llewyn Davis, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The ending was just delicious, exactly how it felt when the music evolved!!! Inside Llewyn Davis did recapture a remarkable time in our cultural history that many of us remember more fondly than it deserves.
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Format: DVD
This review is fairly lengthy but I think those interested in the "Folk Music" aspect of the film will find it worth reading.

First, a point of information: Amazon has a policy to group all reviews of ALL formats of a film (in theaters,streaming,DVD, and BD) together. It is important to note which version the reviewer is commenting on and to note the date of the review (you can sort by Newest First.) With that said, this is a review of the DVD. It will not be released until March 11, 2014 but I was sent a copy by the studio in advance. I did see the film in the theater in December and my review of the film itself will be based on what I wrote then. The film on the DVD is no different. And, I'm told that Bluray has the same "Special Feature" and the print should be the same. In an "about face" from my usual reviews, I will discuss the "Bonus Features" - since there are 26 reviews before mine about the film itself.

The "bonuses" are really singular: One 42-minute "making of" featurette titled "Inside Inside Llewyn Davis". There is not a trailer - or even previews of other films. While much of it concerns the music in the film and how the pre-recording was done in a studio for "practice", though the performances in the film were done "live on set", there are interviews with both Coens, the costume designer and music producer T Bone Burnett. The rehearsal scenes appeared jump on my HD TV screen and the sharpness varied throughout the featurette. One thing you notice when scenes from the film are included is that the Coens used lots of muted blues and greens in the color palette.
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