Humor But No Frivolity In “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Llewyn and Ulysses

Llewyn and Ulysses (Photo credit: vapour trail)

It is a little hard to see the girl played by Carey Mulligan in Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) as a slut, as she presumably is, but easy to believe she herself has a point in considering Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) a “loser.”  A merchant mariner struggling to become a professional folk singer in 1961, Llewyn has very little money, is possibly the father of Mulligan’s soon-to-be-aborted child, constantly lets other people down and is in turn let down by other people, and even receives an absurd beating by a mysterious stranger.

Joel and Ethan Coen’s film is a black comedy—too black.  Undeniably amusing, it is also rather specious.  As is well known by many, to deny the light is as much a lie as to deny the dark, and here the Coens deny the light.  All they care to offer us is pessimism and (usually so-so) music, which makes for an undistinguished film—or would if it weren’t for the reasonably well-written script.  For the Coens have penned an integrated story less contrived than that of their No Country for Old Men.  Good going, guys, but . . .

it sure isn’t perfect.

Other assets are here, too, and in truth Inside Llewyn Davis is a modest success.

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