If you haven’t had a chance to see Inside Llewyn Davis, you can catch it at The Crescent through February 13th, so you haven’t yet missed the best movie of the year.
I’ve been waiting for months to see it and wasn’t disappointed. So for those of you who haven’t made up your minds if it’s worth the time and money, here’s my top ten reasons for going.
1- It’s playing at The Crescent. I can think of no better venue to set the mood for this Coen Brothers, soon to be classic, than the folksy atmosphere of this theater. There were times I had to check myself, less I snap my fingers or politely clap at the end of a smoky, folk performance on the screen. I don’t think the experience would have been as enjoyable at another venue.
2- Great music. Of course, I’m a little prejudiced when it comes to movies about great music. The title character is loosely based on one of my favorites, Dave Van Ronk, and many of his songs are done perfectly by Oscar Isaac as Llewyn. Even the title is a nod to Van Ronk’s 1964 album, Inside Dave Van Ronk. The movie follows one week in the life of the hapless Llewyn Davis. It is set in the pre-Dylan, folk music elitism of Greenwich Village. The Coen Brothers catch the tension between the two competing factions — the authentic vs commercial aspects of the folk scene — that were vying for position in the early 60’s.
3- The Coen Brothers. Can they do any wrong? I’ve been a big fan for years, and especially appreciate their dedication to bringing great music to audiences. From Oh Brother, Where art Thou? with its use of bluegrass to The Big Lebowski with their choice of Townes Van Zandt’s rendition of The Stones’ Dead Flowers, the Coen’s selection of music has always been spot-on.
4- T Bone Burnett. Who could go wrong with T. Bone Burnett in the executive music producer’s chair. (See above.) His love and feel for American music is evident in every soundtrack he has produced.
5- Oscar Isaac. The choice of Isaac for the weary, hapless, free-loading, enigmatic Llewyn Davis is genius. Isaac, a gifted musician, embodies the feel of the pre-Dylan village perfectly.
6- Carey Mulligan. Mulligan is excellent as the angry Jean of the folk duo Jim and Jean. She has the sweet look of a flower child and the brooding intensity of a conflicted woman on the verge of the women’s movement awakened by the publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique.
7- Justine Timberlake. Great in his portrayal of Jim, the partner of Jean, the clean-cut, commercialized folk singer. One of the funniest scenes is Timberlake’s recording of Please, Mr. Kennedy, a nod to the nonsense of one-hit wonders of the early 60’s.
8- Adam Driver. As Al Cody, Driver is hilarious in the studio scene. Best known as Hannah’s (Lena Dunham) love interest in Girls, he brings the element of the 60’s longing for reinvention to Inside Llewyn Davis.
10- The cat. The Coen brothers have stated publicly they will never work with cats again. Ulysses, the cat is a big part of the movie. There is much symbolism involved with this cat, and I’ve read numerous interpretations of what the cat means. Who is the cat? Follow the cat. Is Llewyn the cat? If you are like me, and like to “go down the rabbit hole” then you’ll have fun with the cat. I leave this one to you.
So that’s my ten reasons for catching Inside Llewyn Davis at The Crescent while you still have a chance. I could have made this list into twenty reasons, probably more. It’s the kind of movie you’ll want to see over and over, to pull back its many layers.
But if you’re not like me and don’t care to analyze every aspect of the movie, you’ll still enjoy it for its music, its cinematography and its downright magical screenwriting.
Don’t miss this one!