Inside Llewyn Davis isn’t an easy movie to watch – bleak cinematography, no definite plot structure, gloomy ending. But it’s still a mind-blowing cinematic experience.
Set in the Greenwich Village folk music scene of 1961, the film is a personal exploration of a week in the life of Llewyn Davis, a struggling folk musician battling with depression after the death of his friend and music partner, and trying to keep his life in order. The complex characterization of Davis (played brilliantly by Oscar Isaac) is raw and humane – possibly the highlight of this film.
The technical aspects of the film are brilliant at portraying its depressive tone. The soundtrack and the original songs recorded live is mesmerizing. So is the acting. The movie is enriched with a variant of strong emotions and hidden metaphors (like the interesting open-ended one about the cat Ulysses), making it more fun to dissect at and interpret after viewing.
My takeaway from watching this movie is that creative people lead a very hard, tumultuous, and under-appreciated life. The age-old adage “hard work and talent leads to success” is a myth. Talent and the struggle for authenticity falls flat against commercialization if one wants success. At the same time, success is elusive to the ones who are unable to let go of the past and welcomes the innovative present – as shown in the end. If we relate to Davis in any way, maybe we should take a hard look at ourselves and make a change to bring a positive result.
Author: Fardeen Kabir
Student, University of Dhaka