The Coen brothers carry a reputation for good films for very good reasons. Even if you hated Burn After Reading, their works over the years have always been excellently crafted and delivered with skill and finesse. Inside Llewyn Davis is by no means bucking this trend. The story of the titular character trying to succeed as a country singer is given the Coen’s special touch, with a beautiful soundtrack that fits in perfectly to the plot and tone of the film.
This is a tricky film to put your finger on. The direction is fantastic, the characters believable (Oscar Isaac delivers a spot-on leading role) and the soundtrack beautiful. Yet this is not actually an enjoyable experience. The washed-out, grey lighting adds to the gloom and morose nature of the plot – a plot which ends abruptly with no true sense of completion or even purpose. Like some kind of anti-joke, you wait 100 minutes for the punchline (in this case, some change of pace) which never comes. It’s a weird mix – an unappealing experience delivered in a skilled manner. There’s no denying the talent on show here from all aspects, but the film manages to be overwhelmingly successful at making you feel disappointed. Maybe this was the point… but in terms of outright enjoyment, this film scores unfortunately low.