A week with Davis: Latest Coen Brothers film reviewed

Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen Brothers’ latest movie, is playing exclusively at Princess Twin Cinema for Waterloo viewers. John Tutt, owner of the Princess Cinema, indicated that over the opening weekend, many showings of the movie were sold out.

The film chronicles a young man’s journey as he tries to be a folk singer in 1960’s Greenwich Village in New York City.

The film features Oscar Isaac, John Goodman, Carey Mulligan and a turtleneck-wearing Justin Timberlake. The movie, like most Coen brother’s movies, is outstanding. The film provides a deep melancholy that will last for days. The flick actually has very little plot, but the actions that Llewyn takes makes the audience question their own day-to-day activities. The film also stars a number of cameos from famous modern folk musicians.

The movie can technically be classified as a musical because it features live recordings of Isaac singing folk songs and entire songs are performed in the same style as a musical. Isaac’s voice coupled with the acoustic guitar is the perfect blend for the soundtrack.

The soundtrack is a combination of traditional folk songs, written-for-the-movie songs and folk songs of the ‘60s. It is performed primarily by Isaac, but features a vocal cameo from Marcus Mumford who performs the song “Fare Thee Well.”

Much of the film is based on Dave Van Ronk, who performed in Greenwich Village in the ‘60s, parallel to Llewyn Davis’ journey. Van Ronk was overshadowed by an up-and-coming Bob Dylan and the movie features a very brief scene that indicates the same thing may happen to the titular hero of the film.

Listening to the soundtrack and watching the movie are like going to a folk concert. The songs are sung with conviction and emotion and are performed in their entirety in the movie, giving a feel of sitting in a dingy cafe (much like the infamous Gaslight Cafe featured in the film).

The movie is one of many films that came out this year that featured music from popular artists.

Unlike usual soundtracks where the director chooses songs to match the tone of the film, movies like Inside Llewyn Davis and Her are both collaborative works with the directors and the songwriters. This could be a shift from traditional musical styles into a different way of seeing how musicals can be performed and acted.

The film was not nominated for any of the major Oscar categories, though it has been nominated for Cinematography and Sound Mixing. This is a real shame as the movie had real promise to be one of the best pictures of the year and, in my opinion, still holds true to this title.

Check out Inside Llewyn Davis exclusively at Princess Twin Cinema until January 23.

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