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“Inside Llewyn Davis” misses the key

Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake. (MCT Campus)

With the plethora of new movie releases accompanying the new year, I have found it quite difficult to pick and choose which ones are worth seeing, being that most of my choices have such mixed reviews.

Not wanting to be disappointed with any so-called “blockbusters,” I chose to go and see a movie that was not high in the spotlight: Ethan and Joel Coen’s “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

For a movie that has won awards for almost everything ranging from best actor (National Society of Film Critics) to best music score (Los Angeles Film Critics Association), it was particularly disappointing.

I came into the theater with an open mind, and found the movie to be a snooze fest halfway through. Though, I must admit the cinematography was appealing, and so was the movie soundtrack.

Folk music is not my favorite genre, but producers T-Bone Burnett and Marcus Mumford and composer Todd Kasow did a great job capturing the time period’s musical sound and feel.

Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake. (MCT Campus)
Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake. (MCT Campus)

Justin Timblerake, acting as both an artist and actor in the film, teamed up with Marcus Mumford (more commonly known as the lead singer of Mumford and Sons) and lead actor Oscar Isaac, to perform a majority of the “Inside Llewyn Davis” soundtrack. The musical score turned out to be half-decent, which is more than I can say about the storyline of the movie.

The overused plot of a struggling performer in New York trying to make a name for himself with failure after failure was just too cliché for my taste.  Of course, that isn’t saying much since just about nothing in Hollywood is original anymore.

The movie in itself was slow moving and boring, but I still found myself confused with the unfinished story lines. Ethan and Joel Coen’s writing jumped from topic to topic and never finished the actual plot of the movie.

Despite Oscar Isaac’s entertaining performance playing Llewyn Davis, a struggling, homeless folk musician in the ‘60s and Justin Timberlake and Marcus Mumford’s musical talents, it still does not make up for all the enormous plot holes and poor character development throughout the entire movie.

There were times when characters such as Roland Turner (played by award-winning actor, John Goodman) were introduced into the story for a brief period and then left behind, only to not have anything about that character explained. I was not able to pull together from the movie that Goodman’s character was a jazz musician. To me, he was just some drug-addicted loud-mouth who was the only comic relief in the entire film, aside from the few scenes with the random cat.

Some scenes were just full songs being sung. It may be just me, but I hardly have the patience to sit there and watch a song, especially when they could be using that time to speed up the plot and add depth to some of the lack-luster characters.

There was also the storyline of Isaac’s character, Llewyn Davis, having an illegitimate child with one of his ex-girlfriends without him knowing. Her character is briefly discussed but never fully explained. In fact, having Davis’s illegitimate kid brushed over and forgotten so quickly was a poor choice, and only made me despise Davis’s ignorant and careless character more than I already did.

The only true character development in the movie was Llewyn Davis’s, and it consisted of pathetic choices made by an even more pathetic human being. Davis was struck with tragedy, and still managed to be a pompous musician even though no one wanted any of his music. I’m not sure what kind of reaction toward Davis the Coen’s wanted out of the audience, but I can assure you it falls between either pity or disgust.

For such an amazing cast that included Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, and John Goodman, there was hardly enough interaction between the actor’s characters to actually utilize their talents.

There was hardly any resolution to any side plots, let alone a resolution to the entire story as a whole. Yes it may be beautifully shot, and yes the music is entertaining, but I can hardly say that “Inside Llewyn Davis” was truly worth seeing.


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