Monday, 27 January 2014


Any film by the Coens is an 'event' for me - and here, boosted by the presence of hot-as-hell Oscar Isaac in the title role, it was looking good. Unfortunately the frequent appearance of cat(s), of which I've been long since aware, transformed a lot of the eager anticipation into apprehension. As it turned out, apart from just one short but heart-stopping scene involving said feline, there was little to have been too nervous about, though that particular incident did cut deep. And because a cat keeps re-appearing at various points during the film it was not possible to let it go. But I accept that most of a typical audience won't be distracted by this as much as I was.

I never knew the name of Oscar Isaac till now but I see that he has had minor roles in two or three films I've seen (almost certainly without that magnificent face-fur), including that folly of Madonna's, 'W.E.'.

In this one he plays the surviving member of a locally fairly renowned singing duo, in Greenwich Village over a few days in the deep Winter of 1961. (Lots of smoking in this film, as there would have been around then.) Trying to further a solo career we see him singing in clubs and elsewhere a number of songs (largely pretty good, I thought), accompanying himself on guitar. (All Isaac's own singing.) Circumstances thwart his attempted progress at every turn. But his personal life is a mess as well. It's noteworthy that he seems to take more care of the cat he befriends and has to carry around than any beings of the human variety. Carey Mulligan ('The Great Gatsby', 'Shame', 'Drive', 'An Education'), of whom few of us had heard until a very few years ago, turns in another highly impressive performance, as his one-time relationship turned sour, for reasons I shan't divulge. Mention should also be made that one Justin Timberlake is in the cast. Also, the ever-reliable Coen Brothers'  frequenter, John Goodman, appears in a minor-ish role.

What I like most about Coen films is their quirkiness. This one has some deliciously funny dialogue, but the 'quirks' are sporadic rather than being sustained for the film's entire length, as they did manage to be in just about all of their films up to and including 'The Big Lebowski'. Since then, although their films have definitely still been worth a watch, sometimes two watches, I don't think they stand for the multiple viewings that their earlier films can bear with ease. If 'Inside Llewyn Davis' doesn't quite come up to the standard of entertainment that I yearn for them to return to, it's not so far short of it..............................7.5


  1. Just saw and early matinee of this movie today. Looks like we were on the same wave length.

    Not one of the best Cohen Bros. but entertaining. Of course, the music was the best, especially "500 Miles." Didn't really care for the main character. And didn't the ending disappoint?

    PS. I'm seeing the Ron Howard movie, "Rush" tomorrow. Did you see it and if so, what were your thoughts?

    1. Paul, I honestly believe I'd have thought higher of this film if it hadn't been for the cat/s.The subject skewed my attention away disproportionately to its importance in the story. But even allowing for that, as you say, it was certainly an entertaining film without being a 'great' one. Also, I concur that without the above-average music the film might have been far less agreeable.
      Yes, the ending was a curious one, which at first I didn't 'get'. But I suppose it brought it round full circle, though not entirely satisfactorily.

      I've purposely avoided seeing 'Rush' despite the good reviews it's had, having regretted following critics' advice to see 'Senna' a couple of years ago, and being bored rigid the whole time. Seeing yet another Formula One film, which is one of the most boring of all sports for me (and that's saying something!), was just too much to take. Sorry.

  2. Thanks for this review. I hope I get to see it some day. All your recommendations are still on my list! And I'm glad the cats are alright.

    1. If your also a Coen bros fan, Mitch, then this is unmissable - to be seen at least once.
      Wish I could say that the cats were 'alright', assuming that you're referring to this film. If you see it you'll know what I mean.
      As for my own pussies, yes, they are all fine, thanks.